Hewlett-Packard (HP) surprised analysts with a 15 per cent jump in its first quarter earnings.
However orders were sluggish, growing by only nine per cent to $11 billion, which Lewis Platt, HP chairman, said was "a bit slower than we would have liked". He blamed fluctuating currency exchange rates and "a tough comparison with last year". Orders in Europe beat US orders at $4.3 billion versus $4.2 billion in the US.
Net earnings were $912 million, or 87 cents a share, up 15 per cent on last year and better than analysts had expected. Wall Street had predicted earnings of 75 cents a share this year, the same as last year.
Net revenues climbed 11 per cent to $10.3 billion, with the US seeing stronger growth - 14 per cent - than Europe and Asia, on nine per cent. Orders in the computer business grew 10 per cent but demand for corporate desktop PCs increased only ?moderately?.
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