Hewlett-Packard’s profit jumps 6% in last quarter under CEO Mark Hurd

After nearly two weeks of scandalous chatter over the sudden departure of its chief executive, tech giant Hewlett-Packard reported strong financial results Thursday and stuck to an upbeat outlook for the rest of the year.

Palo Alto-based HP reported earnings of $1.8 billion on $30.7 billion in sales for the quarter that ended last month, which represents a 6% increase in profit and 11% hike in revenue from the same period last year.

The results match preliminary figures the company released Aug. 6, when it announced the resignation of hard-charging CEO Mark Hurd after an investigation into his relationship with an HP marketing contractor. Those figures were slightly better than analysts had previously expected.

Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak, who is acting as CEO, said in a statement that the report “further demonstrates the power of our strategy and the discipline of our execution.”

Despite concerns over potential softening in consumer PC demand, as well as continued economic uncertainty, HP had issued a relatively bullish forecast for the year. The company is projecting sales of $32.5 billion to $32.7 billion for the current quarter, which is the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, with earnings of $1.03 to $1.05 a share.

But the company’s stock has not recovered from the plunge it took after the stunning departure of Hurd, who led HP through the recent recession by relentlessly cutting spending and by adding new businesses such as computer networking and technology services. HP is the world’s leading seller of PCs as well as a major supplier of printers and commercial computer hardware and software.

HP’s stock, which closed at $46.35 on the day before Hurd’s resignation, fell to a 52-week low of $39.95 last week. Shares closed at $40.76 Thursday before the earnings news, but HP’s total market value was still down by more than $12 billion.

Bailey writes for the San Jose Mercury News/McClatchy.