Hewlett-Packard Company has failed to impress with its third quarter results. Even chief executive Lewis Platt admitted to mixed feelings, and the shares dropped $2.25 to close at $63.8125. The Palo Alto- based computing and electronics giant has reported third quarter net profits up 45% at $617m on revenue up 15% at $10.47bn; nine- month net rose 19% to $2.31bn on revenue up 10% at $31.11bn but, excluding the year-ago third quarter charge of $150m for closure of its disk-drive manufacturing operation, profits were up just 11%. Revenue growth was strong and orders are up 19% but net earnings fell a long way short of analysts’ estimates of 68 cents per share. Commenting on the disappointment, Platt blamed excessive costs from marketing incentives used to stir up demand, as well as poor returns from HP’s medical business. Computer business revenues were up 17% and HP now claims to be the worlds third largest personal computer supplier. Business was also good for servers, while printer sales improved in volume but not in revenues due to combative pricing. Platt says …our business strategies and programs are on target. We’ll continue to pursue them aggressively.
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