HP Drops on Reduced Profit, Cash Outlook as PC Woes Continue

(Bloomberg) — HP Inc. reduced its full-year cash flow and profit outlook, saying a rebound in the market for personal computers will take longer than expected. The shares declined about 5.5% in extended trading.

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Free cash flow for the fiscal year ending in October will be $3 billion, the Palo Alto, California-based company said Tuesday in a statement. It previously projected about $3.25 billion. HP also reduced its adjusted profit forecast to a range of $3.23 to $3.25 a share from $3.30 to $3.50 a share.

Demand is “not improving as quickly as we were expecting,” Chief Executive Officer Enrique Lores said in an interview. Elevated levels of inventory across the industry means that computer pricing remains suppressed, and business customers put off purchases in the quarter due to job cuts and general cost-consciousness, Lores said. The economy in China is also weighing on sales, he added.

Personal computer sales have experienced a historic decline over the last year following a pandemic-era boom. HP had been hopeful that the second half of 2023 would see quicker improvement with sales boosted by the back-to-school and holiday seasons. Industry analyst Gartner Inc. said in July that the PC market was showing signs of stabilization. Instead, the reduced outlook indicates ongoing unpredictability.

Fiscal third-quarter revenue dropped 9.9% to $13.2 billion, falling short of analysts’ average estimate of $13.4 billion. Consumer PC sales declined 12%, better than anticipated, while sales to businesses were down 11%, worse than expected. The softer commercial results reinforced concerns about extended tight corporate technology spending, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Woo Jin Ho said in a note after the results.

Printing revenue fell 7% to $4.3 billion. Analysts, on average, expected $4.57 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Adjusted profit was 86 cents per share, in line with estimates.

Despite being “in a tough market environment,” Lores touted a report from industry analyst IDC showing HP gained on its rivals in the quarter. “The rebound has started to happen, it just will be less accelerated than we expected a quarter ago,” he said.

The shares fell to a low of $29.21 in extended trading after closing at $31.37 in New York. The stock had gained 17% this year through Tuesday’s close.

(Updates with comments from analyst in the fifth paragraph.)

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