Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) has found some friends on the Street. A slew of analysts this morning have issued upbeat notes on the computer hardware maker, in apparent relief that CEO Mark Hurd is still at the helm.
Friday’s press briefing gave HP bulls reason to think that Hurd should survive the ongoing scandal over the company’s disturbingly zealous and possibly illegal investigation into news leaks from its board of directors.
Here’s the rundown:
- Louis Miscioscia, Cowen:Investors’ main concern is that Hurd would be implicated and forced out. While not addressed directly we believe [Hurd’s] move to Chairman is a significant sign that he was not extensively involved, and believe likelihood of departure is low. Over the next few months, we believe Hurd will be distracted. However, we believe that the momentum HP has gained during the past 12 months will continue to carry the company forward. Rating: Outperform.
- Daniel Renouard, Robert W. Baird: Although turnaround thesis remaisn intact and CEO’s tenrure appears stable, we anticipate frenzy to continue and headline risk to likely add noise in the short term. At 14x [calendar 2007] EPS, with upward bias to numbers given prospects for ongoing operations improvement, we would recommend shares for investors willing to look beyond current noise.
- Laura Conigliaro, Goldman Sachs: We would be buying HPQ shares now…We expect the incendiary aspects of the investigatory techniques to begin to recede, with ocasional backsteps as more background information comes out. The key investor concern centers around the prospect of Mark Hurd…being forced to resign. In light of the published information to date plus the incremental detail from the press briefing, we think this eventuality can be nearly dismissed.
- Richard Farmer, Merrill Lynch: Given what we know today, we believe little of the boardroom scandal ultimately will impact the intrinsic value of HP. We believe Mark Hurd’s statements, combined with our past impressions of his integrity, as well as HP’s confidence in appointing him Chairman, make the risk of his departure remote. Therefore, we think the stock’s 5% downtick last week creates a particular buying opportunity.
- Andy Neff, Bear Stearns:Barring disclosure of a ’smoking gun’ tying CEO Mark Hurd to indictable activities, our sense is that HPQ is taking the right steps to get control of the leak scandal, conveying a strong sense of urgency…While the future could bring some more revelations, we reiterate out Outperform rating.
HP shares this morning have rebounded 36 cents, to $35.47.