Hewlett Packard Co has forecast that 2010 revenue will be up just 3 percent from 2009 and slightly below Wall Street expectations, despite hope corporate spending on hardware would bounce back.

HP -- which said on Thursday it saw IT spending returning to growth in 2010 after a dismal 2009 -- forecast earnings, excluding items, of $4.20-$4.30 per share on revenue of $117 billion to $118 billion in fiscal 2010.

Analysts had expected a $4.24 profit and $118.1 billion revenue, according to Reuters Estimates. HP posted revenue of about $113 billion in fiscal 2009, according to Thomson Reuters data.

HP shares slipped 0.9 percent to $46.45 after hours from a regular close of $46.87.

We expect the IT industry to return to growth in 2010 and believe that HP will outpace the market, Chief Executive Mark Hurd said. We see tremendous opportunity to grow our business and improve earnings.

Technology companies are hoping for a corporate hardware refresh cycle to begin next year, as large companies move to replace aging machines with the latest equipment.

HP, the world's largest maker of personal computers, is also a leading player across the IT sector in everything from services to servers and printers. Its comments are closely watched as barometers of business spending and the overall health of the technology sector.

Its diversified business model and reliable revenue streams have helped it weather an economic downturn that has crimped technology spending from businesses and consumers.

The company has been zealously managing costs during the slowdown, while at the same time managing expectations about a turnaround in IT spending.

(Reporting by Gabriel Madway and Edwin Chan; editing by Steve Orlofsky and Andre Grenon)