Hewlett-Packard to report earns with new CEO

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hewlett-Packard Co.’s fiscal fourth quarter earnings report, coming Monday after the market closes, will cover the first period with former eBay Inc. CEO Meg Whitman at the helm.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Signs of deterioration in the $40 billion-plus PC business, which HP was debating selling or spinning off but decided to keep. Some analysts say the company may have done irreparable harm to the brand by publicly weighing the separation before a buyer could be found. Also, commentary on the future of the WebOS software for mobile devices. HP has killed its tablet and smartphone lines, but has left the future of the underlying software unclear. HP could license the software to other companies or possibly use it for other devices it makes, such as printers.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: HP is one of the world’s biggest technology companies — and one of the most dysfunctional, with constant management drama. Last year, Mark Hurd was ousted as CEO in an ethical scandal, and in September his replacement, Leo Apotheker, was also forced out. Apotheker was replaced by Whitman.

WHAT’S EXPECTED: Analysts polled by FactSet expect that HP earned $1.13 per share, excluding items, on $32.06 billion in revenue. The fiscal fourth quarter ended Oct. 31.

LAST YEAR’S QUARTER: In the same period last year, HP earned $1.33 per share, excluding items, on $33.28 billion in revenue.