HP spreads calm and balm in the markets

Hewlett-Packard shares rose 14.5% yesterday as announced earnings early and issued a forecast for next year that reassured stock markets.

HP is the world's biggest maker of PCs, a market that is expected to take a pounding in the coming year and other big suppliers of corporate IT - including Cisco and Sun Microsystems - reported falling demand, the Financial Times says.

CEO Mark Hurd, put HP's resilience down to its "global reach, diverse customer base, broad portfolio and numerous cost initiatives".

HP said that revenues next year would probably reach US$127.5 billion to US$130 billion, below the US$135 billion expected by analysts. However, it also predicted that pro-forma earnings per share would reach US$3.88- US$4.03, ahead of the US$3.85 that analysts had predicted.

For the latest quarter, HP's revenues were US$33.6bn; 5% growth before the acquisition of EDS, with pro-forma earnings per share of US$1.03.