HP Posts Profits Boosted By Consumers

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Printer and computer maker Hewlett-Packard reported on Wednesday first-quarter profit above expectations it raised last week, when it said consumers were buying PCs and printers.

The Palo Alto, California-based company, expected to use the results to bolster management's case it can successfully integrate takeover target Compaq Computer Corp., posted a profit before one-time items of $564 million or 29 cents per diluted share, compared with $812 million, or 41 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Sales fell to $11.4 billion from $12.4 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts polled by research firm Thomson Financial/First Call had forecast earnings of 18 cents to 27 cents per share on sales of $11.1 billion. The consensus earnings forecast was 25 cents per share. On Feb. 4, HP had said it would substantially beat the consensus at that time, which was 16 cents per share.

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