HP Inc. ( HPQ ) posted mixed fiscal second-quarter results late Wednesday, beating views on earnings per share, but missing Wall Street’s target for sales. HP earned 41 cents a share excluding items on sales of $11.59 billion for the quarter ended April 30. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected HP to earn 38 cents a share on sales of $11.72 billion. On a year-over-year basis, adjusted EPS rose 5% while sales fell 11%. Excluding foreign currency effects, revenue was down 5%. The Palo Alto, Calf.-based company continues to suffer from a weak market for personal computers and printers. “This quarter we delivered strong results and solid progress towards our long-term strategy,” HP CEO Dion Weisler said in a statement . “We achieved our operational objectives, unleashed truly amazing innovations, and grew in strategic areas of our business, despite tough market conditions.” Revenue in HP’s personal computer business fell 10% in Q2, while printing business revenue declined 16%. For the current quarter, HP is forecasting adjusted profit of 37 to 40 cents a share. Wall Street had been modeling for 40 cents. For the full fiscal year, HP is targeting adjusted EPS of $1.59 to $1.65. Analysts were looking for $1.59. HP stock was flat in after-hours trading following the earnings news release. During the regular session Wednesday, HP rose 2.4% to 12.20.
Palo Alto Networks ( PANW ) is expected late Thursday to report fiscal Q3 sales and earnings that decelerated to mid-2014 trough levels, with further sales-growth slowing expected in fiscal Q4, according to the consensus of 43 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. In early afternoon trading on the stock market today , Palo Alto Networks stock was up a fraction, near 145. The rise underperformed IBD’s 26-company Computer Software-Security industry group, which jumped 1.6%. A weak April-quarter earnings report by the company could stoke further questions of a broad cybersecurity slowdown . This month, investment bank Piper Jaffray noted slowing demand for Palo Alto Networks products, citing its own checks of the sales channel. Palo Alto’s results come after soft Q2 and fiscal 2016 guidance from security vendors Check Point Software Technology ( CHKP ) and FireEye ( FEYE ). Imperva ( IMPV ) and Proofpoint ( PFPT ) likewise missed with their Q2 guidance, and Barracuda Networks ‘ ( CUDA ) and Fortinet ‘s ( FTNT ) full-year views lagged. For fiscal Q3, Palo Alto Networks is expected to report $339.5 million in sales and 42 cents earnings per share minus items, up a respective 45% and 83% vs. the year-earlier quarter. A company faces the prospect of lower percentage growth when it gets bigger, but Q3 sales would decelerate for the fourth consecutive quarter and would dip below 50% growth for the first time since June 2014. For the current fiscal Q4, the analyst consensus calls for 37% year-over-year growth, lagging the 53% growth average Palo Alto has enjoyed the past three years. Q3 EPS, as modeled, would break a five-quarter streak of triple-digit growth and touch a seven-quarter low. But analysts model 79% EPS ex items growth in fiscal Q4, which would top the 55% growth average for Palo Alto’s past three July quarters.
Splunk ( SPLK ) and Pure Storage ( PSTG ) are positioned to deliver solid earnings this week, despite a challenging environment for spending on information technology, analysts say. Pacific Crest Securities analyst Brent Bracelin said in a research note Monday that Splunk remains the firm’s “highest-conviction growth idea that continues to deliver solid results.” And he said Pure Storage has emerged as the largest and fastest-growing provider of flash-based storage technology “that we believe remains well positioned to grow 60%-plus this year, driven by share gains in a shrinking storage market.” IBD Take: Splunk ranks No. 4 in its group. Learn why at IBD Stock Checkup . Splunk provides software for machine-to-machine data analytics that companies use to attain real-time intelligence. The consensus on Splunk is for revenue of $174.1 million for its fiscal Q1 ended on or near April 30, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters. That would be an increase of 38.5% year over year, maintaining its double-digit growth rate going back more than four years. Analysts expect a 2-cent loss per share minus items, vs. a 1-cent loss in the year-earlier quarter and an 11-cent profit in the previous quarter. Splunk is set to report after the market close Thursday. “We remain bullish on the prospects for Splunk to grow into a $1 billion-plus revenue franchise based on a differentiated software,” Bracelin wrote of the company that posted revenue of $668 million for fiscal 2016 ended Jan. 31. RBC Capital Markets analyst Matthew Hedberg has an outperform rating on Splunk stock and a price target of 60. Splunk shares were near 54, up 2%, in afternoon trading in the stock market today . The stock is 81% higher since hitting a low of 29.85 on Feb. 12. Pure Storage, meanwhile, is set to report earnings after the market close Wednesday for its fiscal Q1 ended April 30. The Wall Street consensus estimate on revenue is $138 million, up 86% year over year, following 12 quarters in a row of triple-digit gains. The bottom-line consensus is for a per-share loss minus items of 23 cents, vs. a 26-cent loss in the year-earlier quarter. Pure Storage received an upbeat review ahead of its Q1 report, with an analyst saying the flash storage market appears to be growing faster than expected. Pure Storage stock was trading near 14.75, up 1.5%, Monday afternoon. It came public in October 2015 with shares priced at 17. Other tech companies reporting this week include Hewlett Packard Enterprise ( HPE ) and HP Inc. ( HPQ ) Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which provides business enterprise services and cloud-enabled technologies, is projected to report revenue of $12.3 billion and EPS minus items of 42 cents. It reports after the close Tuesday. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise was trading near 16, up 1.5%. HP, which sells personal computers and printers, reports its fiscal second quarter after the close Wednesday. The consensus on revenue is $11.7 billion, with views for EPS minus items of 38 cents. HP stock was near 11.70, up a fraction.