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Hewlett-Packard Shares Fall on Lexmark's Warning

By Benjamin Pimentel Shares of Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) fell more than 2% Friday, standing out in sharp contrast against a broad-based Wall Street rally. The shares traded down to $18.88 near midday, leaving H-P as the only Dow Jones Industrial Average component in the red. The Dow industrials added more than 170 points. H-P's weakness was apparently triggered by a warning from Lexmark International (LXK) which cut its second-quarter outlook late Thursday, said ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall. The printer maker cited business weakness in Europe as one of the factors behind the shortfall. That's bad news for H-P on two counts. It's already known that the Palo Alto, Calif., tech powerhouse's sizable exposure in Europe makes it vulnerable to economic problems dogging the region. Lexmark's warning also suggests problems for H-P in its own printer business. Once considered the Silicon Valley giant's crown jewel, H-P's printer business has struggled with slower growth. One reason is the overall decline in demand -- but there's also the growing sense that users simply aren't printing as much as they used to. H-P also took a hit as a result of a downbeat view from J.P. Morgan, which reaffirmed its underweight view on the blue-chip stock. "The company's revenue and earnings growth profiles stand to be under pressure in the near term, owing to company-specific issues, macroeconomic challenges, and the ill-effects of currency fluctuations," analyst Mark Moskowitz said in a note. On the other hand, RBC Capital's Amit Daryanani kept an outperforming rating on H-P, saying in a note, "While macro remains challenging, the company is focused on right-sizing its operations and moving up the value proposition with enterprise customers." -Write to Benjamin Pimentel at AskNewswires@dowjones.com

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