BMO Lifts Price Target on HP Inc (HPQ) But Stays on the Sidelines

Yesterday evening, HP Inc (NYSE:HPQ) delivered a strong fiscal first quarter results for 2017, outclassing expectations. Particularly singing the praises of the printer giant’s stellar revenue, BMO analyst Tim Long plays it on the cautious side overall amid market pressures, but raises estimates.

In reaction, the analyst reiterates a Market Perform rating while boosting the price target from $16 to $17, which represents a 2% increase from current levels.

For the first fiscal quarter of 2017, the giant boasted revenue of $12.7 billion, which Long notes hits “well above” both his expectation of $12.0 billion as well as consensus of $11.8 billion, thanks to double outperformance. Meanwhile, EPS also brought in a beat with $0.38 coming in ahead of the analyst’s estimate of $0.36 and consensus of $0.37, as well as landing towards the top range of guidance.

With regards to the global PC market, Long cheers the giant for “[…] attaining its highest market share ever in the December calendar quarter.” Notebooks in particular shone bright this quarter, with sales taking a 16% year-over-year surge to $4.9 billion, which marks HPQ’s third quarter back-to-back of gains. Free cash flow also outclasses management’s previous expectations, accumulating $735 million of free cash flow. “We expect notebooks to outpace desktops, and we expect HPQ to continue to gain share, though at a more moderate pace,” continues the analyst.

For the second fiscal quarter, HPQ guides EPS to $0.37 to $0.40, which the analyst deems “in line” with the Street’s projection of $0.38, even if just “a touch below” his forecast of $0.39 at the mid-point. Management maintained outlook for free cash flow for the fiscal year of 2017 between $2.3 and $2.6 billion, anticipating to reach toward the top end of the 50% to 75% rate of capital return. Additionally, the analyst notes, “Full-year numbers for FY2017 are unchanged from the previous earnings call, which continues to signal a slightly more back-end loaded year compared with prior thinking.”

In light of the print, Long reigns in his EPS projection for the fiscal year of 2017 from $1.62 to $1.60, but maintains his EPS estimate for the fiscal year of 2018 at $1.68.

Overall, “HP Inc. reported positive headline results, and guidance that was largely in line with our/consensus view. Revenue impressed, as both segments beat expectations. PCs showed particular strength, as sales were up 10%—the highest growth rate since 2014. We are updating our PC model with a more moderate outlook for unit declines in 2016 and 2017, but remain on the sidelines on HPQ because challenges in both end markets will prevail,” Long surmises.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, five-star analyst Tim Long is ranked #364 out of 4,494 analysts. Long has a 63% success rate and realizes 11.0% in his annual returns. When recommending HPQ, Long earns 0.0% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate HPQ as a Buy. Out of 8 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 50% are bullish on HP stock and 50% remain sidelined. With a return potential of 16%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $18.86.

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