Hewlett Packard (HPQ) is merely the latest pounded nail, reporting dismal earnings and forecasting further pain.
Operating margins continued their downhill slide, tumbling a whopping 380 basis points. Revenue dropped 7% with the Personal Systems Group leading the way down 15%. Even Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking sales crashed 10%. Earnings were down 32%. HP guided next quarter earnings below analyst expectations. Translation: The next report is going to be even worse.
In the conference call, CEO Meg Whitman counseled patience:
And if you look at history, these turnarounds are not done in less than two years, and often they take three or four or five years. So I think you've got to - and by the way, you'll see, obviously, forward progress before five years, of course. But we've got a journey ahead of us.
It would seem investors are running low on that rare commodity "patience," sending the stock down over 6% today.
Current management is going to have to take the blame like it or not. Whitman owns this quarter. The hapless Leo Apotheker has left the building. HP's mega problems are no longer his.
When Whitman took HP's reins, investors cheered and sent the share price up 40% in four months. That honeymoon is over as investors realize Whitman does not have the tool kit to repair HP. Even the most hopeful HP fans realize they've signed on for the cruise ship Costa Concordia.
When you're getting your head handed to you, it's time for drastic action. HP has big problems. This once great company doesn't have time to dither. Without more from management, this one has $20 written all over it.
Disclosure: I am long AAPL.
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