HP reiterates earnings estimates for quarter

In the wake of Gateway's dire earnings warning, Hewlett-Packard reaffirms that it's still on track to meet analyst expectations for the current quarter.

In the wake of Gateway's dire earnings warning, computer maker Hewlett-Packard on Thursday reaffirmed that it's still on track to meet analysts' estimates for the current quarter.

Sales during the Thanksgiving week were ahead of last year, HP said in a statement, although it admitted that softness in the PC market has been "somewhat greater" than it originally thought.

That's still better than rival Gateway, which warned Wednesday that its operating income would be 37 cents per share--compared with previous analyst expectations of 64 cents--because of much weaker-than-expected sales of consumer PCs over the holiday weekend.

HP reiterated that it expects to earn 44 cents per share, in line with Wall Street forecasts. However, analysts lowered expectations for HP's current quarter after the company reported quarterly earnings earlier this month that were 10 cents per share below what analysts had predicted.

The current quarter runs from November through the end of January.

"Unlike some of our competitors, HP is far more than a U.S.-centric consumer PC company, with less than 10 percent of our business in this segment," chief executive Carly Fiorina said in a statement. "HP's global and product diversification is a significant competitive advantage, which we believe will prove increasingly valuable as it serves to insulate us from the effects of individual market downturns."

Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP said it had planned for only single-digit growth in the retail PC business this year, following its 60 percent growth last year.

"The fact is, we anticipated that the bulk of our growth in (the current fiscal year) will be driven by strong momentum in our Internet infrastructure and printing businesses," Fiorina said.

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