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Hewlett-Packard Falls on Goldman Downgrade: San Francisco Mover

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) fell the most in more than four months after Bill Shope, an analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., downgraded the shares amid a continuing slump in personal-computer sales.

The shares dropped 5.2 percent to $22.10 at 10:11 a.m. in New York, and earlier touched $21.90 for the biggest intraday decline since Nov. 20. Shope downgraded the stock to sell from neutral and has a $16 target price.

Before today, Hewlett-Packard had surged 64 percent this year on optimism that Meg Whitman, the fourth CEO in three years, could engineer a turnaround. She showed early signs of progress in February, forecasting fiscal second-quarter profit that beat estimates as cost cutting and rebounding demand for enterprise services helped offset waning demand for PCs.

“Sentiment has moved ahead of reality,” Shope wrote in a research report today. He predicted that the shares could fall 31 percent from yesterday’s closing price.

“The current restructuring actions will be largely countered by incremental weakness in PCs, enterprise hardware, services and printing in fiscal 2013,” Shope said.

Global PC shipments may fall 1.3 percent to 345.8 million units this year, from 350.4 million in 2012, researcher IDC said last month. Last year, shipments declined 3.7 percent.

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