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Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ - Analyst Report) is set to report first-quarter 2013 results after the bell today, Feb 21. Last quarter, it posted no positive earnings surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Growth Factors This Past Quarter

All PC markers are currently seeing a slowdown and Hewlett-Packard is no different, as the PC business of the company has been affected by the increasing popularity of tablets and other mobile devices

Hewlett-Packard is going through a strategic and operational transformation process. So in order to strengthen its business model, the company has been implementing new restructuring plans over the last four quarters. It is yet to be seen whether these initiatives can help the reverse the negative revenue growth trend it has seen in the last few quarters. However, the actions may be expected to have a positive impact on margin and EPS performance throughout the year.

Although the company reported a revenue and gross margin decline, which resulted in a net loss, proper cost control and strategic initiatives can help the company improve its financial results.

Earnings Whispers?

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2013 stands at 71 cents, while that for fiscal 2013 stands at $3.30.

Hewlett-Packard reported in line with its estimate over the last three quarters, so there was no earnings surprise.

There were no revisions in estimates over the last 30 days. However, over the last 60 days, one estimate moved up, while another moved in the opposite direction. However, this was not enough to move the Zacks Consensus Estimate in either direction.

Hewlett-Packard shares carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

The sell rated stocks (#4 and #5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.

Other Stocks to Consider

Our model states that a stock needs to have both a positive earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) and a Zacks Rank #1, #2 or #3 to beat earnings estimates. You could, therefore, consider other stocks instead like::

Symantec Corp. (SYMC - Analyst Report) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), having a TTM ESP of 1.33%.

CA Inc. (CA - Analyst Report) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), and ESP of 0.83%.

Advent Software (ADVS - Snapshot Report) has a Zacks Rank #1 (Buy) and ESP of 4.55%.

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