Keep an eye on HP shares today

Revenue, earnings forecast for fiscal 2011 top analysts' estimates

It may not have a chief executive at the moment, but Hewlett-Packard had something else to show off at its analyst day in San Francisco Tuesday -- an upbeat forecast for fiscal 2011 that sent shares up more than 1.5 percent in after-hours trading, momentum which has continued into Wednesday's early trading.

HP told analysts it expects fiscal year 2011 revenue of $131.5 billion to $133.5 billion, with GAAP earnings of $4.35 to $4.45 per share and non-GAAP earnings of $5.05 to $5.15 per share for FY 2011, which begins November 1.

Analysts have been forecasting GAAP earnings of $4.99 per share on revenue of $131.42 billion.

Shares of HP (NASDAQ: HPQ) rose at Wednesday's bell to 42.36, a gain of 74 cents, or 1.78 percent, over Tuesday's closing price of 41.62.

The company's financial outlook comes against a backdrop of speculation over who will replace former CEO Mark Hurd, who resigned in early August in the wake of an investigation over claims of sexual harassment and expense-account irregularities. Hurd soon after was hired by Larry Ellison to be co-president of Oracle. HP initially sued to prevent Hurd from taking the position, but quickly settled.

MarketWatch on Tuesday reported quickly debunked rumors that Tim Cook, Apple's No. 2 man behind Steve Jobs, was "a leading contender" to succeed Hurd.

HP's current fiscal year ends October 31. The company has forecast revenue of $125.3 billion to $125.5 billion and GAAP net income of $3.62 to $3.64 per share.

The company on Monday completed its purchase of data storage firm 3PAR Inc. for $33 per share in cash, or $2.35 billion, after winning a bidding war with Dell. Many industry observers (notably IBM chief executive Sam Palmisano) believe HP overpaid for 3PAR, whose shares were trading in the $10 range last summer.

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