Hewlett-Packard 4Q profits miss forecasts

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP) fell short of analyst estimates for the fourth quarter by a whopping 10 cents Monday and saw its shares slip before the bell.

The computer giant's stock plunged 11 percent in Instinet pre-market trading, or 4.13 to 35, down from a Friday close of 39.13.

The company came in with fourth-quarter earnings per share of 41 cents, excluding investment and divestiture gains and losses, the effects of stock appreciation rights and balance sheet translation, and restructuring charges. First Call estimates called for 51 cents.

Revenue was up 17 percent to 13.3 billion.

According to the company, the smaller-than-expected earning were caused by margin pressures, adverse currency effects, higher-than-expected expenses, and business mix.

The shortfall of Hewlett-Packard sets the stage for another rough ride for computer-related stocks, which were pounded last week thanks to lowered guidance from Dell Computers (Nasdaq: DELL). IBM (NYSE: IBM), Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) and Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) were all down in pre-session action.

Hewlett-Packard also said it had terminated talks to purchase the consulting business of PricewaterhouseCoopers.