HP shares take a beating on Whitman’s warning

Following an earnings report outlook that dampened expectations on both the wider technology market and CEO Meg Whitman’s ambitious plans to turn the company around, Reuters reports that shares of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) took a beating on the markets.

Shares in the largest U.S. technology company by revenue plummeted as much as 7% after it forecast earnings, excluding certain items, of between US$3.40 to US$3.60 a share in fiscal 2013. Chief Executive Meg Whitman on Wednesday blamed unprecedented executive turnover in past years for dragging out the turnaround of the sprawling Silicon Valley computing giant. 

(Click here to read: HP shares fall to near nine-year low as Whitman warns of weak 2013)

Whitman took the helm of HP in September 2011 after a short but tumultuous reign by Léo Apotheker that was marked by several questionable large acquisitions, a shift in focus to software and a later aborted plan to shed the company’s high revenue but low margin PC business. She had the goodwill of partners at the company’s Global Partner Conference in February where she outlined a turn-around plan that included embracing the channel and the company’s hardware roots while investing in R&D and pursuing lucrative services opportunities and solution-based selling.

Partners, analysts and partners though are all eager for results though, and Whitman can only get by on being “not Léo” for so long. Major layoffs and cost-cutting have slowed her plans for a turnaround, as has a choppy market for IT purchasing. The former e-Bay CEO will need to show progress soon for what will be a long-term rebuilding project.

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