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Bear Stearns Upgrades Hewlett-Packard

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) posts 36 cents, vs. 24 cents third-quarter earnings per share (non-GAAP basis) on a 10% revenue rise. Bear Stearns upgraded the stock to outperform, and has a $35 price target.

Analyst Andrew Neff says with nascent signs of a turnaround, he's raising his rating to outperform from peer perform. He believes the key in turnaround metrics is the ability to hit and exceed benchmarks. While third-quarter EPS upside was largely driven by cost cuts, he says that is normal in a turnaround.

Neff raises fourth-quarter EPS estimate to 47 cents from 41 cents on a 6% sales rise; fiscal year 2005 (October) EPS to $1.56 from $1.45 on an 8% sales rise; fiscal year 2006 EPS to $1.85 from $1.70 on a 6% sales rise; and fiscal year 2007 EPS to $2.15 from $2.00 on a 7% sales rise.

He believes investors may now prefer H-P or Apple (AAPL) given Dell's (DELL) recent shortfall.

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