Shares of Hewlett-Packard rose about 3.7 percent Friday after the No. 1 maker of PCs decided not to drop out of the business.

HP shares traded around $27.99, up $1, after HP announced its decision to keep its Personal Systems Group after all, less than two months after then-CEO Leo Apotheker said it might sell it or spin it off to shareholders.

New CEO Meg Whitman said keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP conducted a strategic review by Whitman, who was elected HP CEO on Sept. 22 when Apotheker was ousted. as well as by Executive Chairman Ray Lane that opted to keep the PC lines. Whitman said she is now handling hardware issues while Lane, a former president of Oracle, will concentrate on software and services.

The move was largely welcomed by analysts, such as Peter Misek of Jefferies, who said HP's decision removes uncertainty and may have avoided a one-time charge estimated as high as $1.5 billion for a sale.

HP will close its fourth quarter Monday and financial results are to be reported Nov. 21. That means the company won't have to report PC sales as discontinued items or begin the costly process of spinning it off or hiring bankers for a sale.

As the world's biggest PC maker  --- a mark it earned by acquiring Compaq Computer and other smaller vendors  -- HP enjoys major economies of scale. It can negotiate lower prices from chip makers such as Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, Samsung Electronics and others.

As well, the size makes easier relations with major software developers like Microsoft, Symantec and others, so that it can load applications once customers order a new unit.

Todd Bradley, EVP of the PSG group, said the move should provide customers products across a broad portfolio of PCs, workstations and more.

Jefferies' Misek said uncertainty about HP's continued presence in the sector had caused a slight downtick in orders during back-to-school season.  But removing that now should bode well for holiday sales.

Friday's early gain adds to Whitman's luster. Since her election as HP CEO, shares have gained 16.5 percent. The former eBay CEO joined the HP board after losing her campaign to be Governor of California to Democrat Jerry Brown.