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Hewlett-Packard Q1 Earns Rise 26 Percent

Hewlett-Packard Co.'s first-quarter profit jumped 26 percent as the company benefited from higher sales of laptop computers, printers and printing supplies during a robust holiday spending season.

The company on Tuesday said it earned $1.55 billion, or 55 cents per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with $1.23 billion, or 42 cents per share, for the same period last year.

The Palo Alto-based computer and printer maker said revenue for the period was $25.1 billion, compared with $22.7 billion during the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time charges, HP said it earned $1.8 billion, or 65 cents per share, beating analyst forecasts.

Analysts were expecting HP to earn, on average, 62 cents per share on $24.3 billion in revenue, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

"HP delivered a strong first quarter, with improved margins and solid revenue growth across our businesses," Mark Hurd, HP's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We have a lot of work and opportunities ahead of us. I am confident we can continue to execute with discipline and deliver a year of strong financial returns."

HP's stock gained 36 cents to close at $43.13 on the New York Stock Exchange before the results were released. In after-hours trading, HP shares fell 39 cents to $42.74.

In the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures, the company said it is offering an early retirement program to an unspecified number of eligible employees.

HP said it expects to pay for the program with the approximately $500 million saved from changes to its defined-benefit pension plan.

HP also provided its financial forecast for the second quarter and 2007 fiscal year.

For the second quarter, HP said it expects to earn between 57 cents and 58 cents on roughly $24.5 billion in revenue. Excluding one-time costs, the company said it expects net income of between 63 cents and 64 cents per share for the quarter.

Analysts were expecting HP to earn between 63 cents on $24.1 billion in revenue.

For the 2007 fiscal year, HP said it expects to record revenue of $98 billion to $99 billion.

Net income per share is expected to be in the range of $2.35 to $2.40, and between $2.60 to $2.65 when excluding one-time charges.

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