Hewlett-Packard’s (NYSE:HPQ) stock increased as much as 2.6 percent in afternoon trading on Monday. In the absence of other major catalysts, and against a backdrop of modest market declines, credit may fall to positive comments from Katy Huberty, a managing director at Morgan Stanley.
“Ultimately,” Huberty told CNBC’s “Fast Money” on Monday morning, “the company will top their free cash-flow guidance by 35 percent this year. That’s going to improve earnings quality, accelerate the cash return to shareholders and ultimately drive the multiple higher.”
HP’s 2013 free cash flow guidance was $5.0 billion. Huberty is looking for $6.7 billion, spurred by the $2.1 billion figure reported in the first quarter. Here’s a quick look at HP’s top- and bottom-line performance over the past few years:
However, when asked about what the company could do about its revenues – which declined 5.4 percent in 2012 — Huberty suggested that top-line growth isn’t where investors should be looking.
“The frank answer is, I don’t think they need to grow revenue in the next 9 months,” she told CNBC. “The call right now is about earnings and free cash flow recovery.”
Huberty indicated that new multifunction printers and power-efficient servers as vectors of growth for the beleaguered company. She seemed to adhere to CEO Meg Whitman’s assessment that the company will have to continue suffering through a period of transition before returning to growth.
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