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HP's Net Income Up 30 Percent

Hewlett-Packard's first-quarter profits soared 30 percent to $936 million, boosted in part by a strong showing from its personal systems group.

For the three months ended Jan. 31, HP reported net income of 31 cents per share, up from 24 cents a share, or $721 million, in the same period last year. Excluding special items, it earned $1.08 billion, or 35 cents per share, up from $877 million, or 29 cents per share, a year earlier.

First-quarter revenue was $19.51 billion, up 9.2 percent from $17.88 billion in the first quarter of 2003.

During a conference call, HP chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina characterized the first quarter as "solid," but acknowledged that there's "pricing pressure" from IBM and others in the IT consulting market. She said corporate customers remained hesitant about spending on information technology. "We said we expected a steady recovery in IT spending, not an explosive one," Fiorina said. "Everything we've seen since then reaffirms our view of the IT market."

Personal systems was a bright spot for HP, posting $6.2 billion in revenue, a 20 percent increase from the year-ago quarter, and an operating profit of $62 million, compared with $22 million a year earlier. HP said the group's profit was the highest since the Compaq merger in May 2002.

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