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HP tops estimates, sees flat or lower revenue

Hewlett-Packard topped analysts' lowered estimates in its second quarter.

After market close Wednesday, the technology giant reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of $356 million, or 18 cents per share. The results included the effects of a previously announced $155 million write-off, but excluded other one-time charges and amortization. First Call's survey of 16 analysts predicted a profit of 15 cents per share for HP's second quarter ended April 30.

Analyst consensus originally called for Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP) to earn 35 cents per share in the second-quarter, but that figure was revised after HP warned last month of disappointing results. HP's second-quarter earnings and revenue were within the range predicted by the company in April.

Including all charges and excluding a one-time gain, HP earned $319 million, or 15 cents per share.

Second-quarter revenue fell 4 percent year-over-year to $11.6 billion. First Call consensus predicted revenue of $11.8 billion.

"Our results continue to be impacted by significant macroeconomic challenges and particular weakness in consumer and capital spending in the U.S. and Europe," said CEO Carly Fiorina. "But we can't pin all of our issues on the economy. We've previously acknowledged the work we're doing in our enterprise business to reinvigorate channel and go-to-market programs. The systemic, structural changes we are making in these areas are not quick fixes, but we're making steady improvement day by day."

The company said analysts' third-quarter estimates are "reasonable" for earnings, but added that revenue will be roughly the same as or down as much as 5 percent from the second quarter. According to First Call, HP is expected to report third quarter earnings of 23 cents a share.

Last month's preannouncement drained any suspense from this week's report. Questions about Hewlett-Packard continue to revolve around its computing systems businesses, SG Cowen analyst Richard Chu said, in a research note released ahead of Wednesday's news.

"We continue to like HP's strategic and market position in its franchise printing/imaging business," Chu wrote. "In contrast, we feel there is still considerable the computer systems businesses, both in the so-called 'always -on infrastructure' space and the PC arena."

Hewlett-Packard gained $1.32 to $26.72 in Wednesday's regular trading ahead of the earnings report.>