HPE shares fall after CEO told investors to expect a 'challenging second half'

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise tumbled on Wednesday even though earnings topped estimates.
  • HPE reported better-than-expected profit and revenue, and its guidance was in line with analysts' predictions.
  • CEO Antonio Neri warned of a "challenging second half."
Antonio Neri, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, speaks at the 2017 HP Discover 2017 conference in Las Vegas.
Bloomberg | Getty Images
Antonio Neri, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, speaks at the 2017 HP Discover 2017 conference in Las Vegas.

Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise plunged more than 10 percent on Wednesday, after CEO Antonio Neri prepared investors for a more "challenging second half" of the year, overshadowing the company's better-than-expected earnings report.

Neri was hardly downbeat in offering up his forecast, which met analysts' expectations.

"We expect the growth rate to moderate," he said, citing tough comparisons to last year's numbers. "While we see a more challenging second half, we have got great momentum, and I'm confident that we will deliver on our annual fiscal year 2018 outlook."

After the report, analysts at Morgan Stanley even raised their price target on the stock to $21 from $20.

Still, the stock sank $1.77, or 10 percent, to $15.64 as of mid-day on Wednesday. The shares are now up 8.2 percent for the year.

HPE beat revenue and profit estimates for the fiscal second quarter. HPE said in a statement that it generated earnings per share of 34 cents, excluding certain items, topping the 31-cent average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters. Sales rose 10 percent to $7.5 billion, exceeding the $7.4 billion average estimate.

The company's biggest business segment, hybrid IT, grew 6.8 percent to $6 billion in revenue. Within that segment, the compute business ended the quarter with $3.21 billion in revenue, just shy of estimates, according to FactSet.

HPE said it it's expecting earnings per share of 35 to 39 cents in the fiscal third quarter, excluding certain items, and between $1.40 and 1.50 for the full fiscal year. Analysts expected 36 cents for the third quarter and $1.41 for the year, according to Thomson Reuters.

During the quarter, HPE bought Cape Networks, and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen left the company's board. HPE recorded a $140 million tax expense in the quarter as a result of recently enacted U.S. tax reform.