Compaq predicts solid first quarter

Compaq Computer has announced it expects to meet or even surpass the current financial expectations for its first fiscal quarter,...

Compaq Computer has announced it expects to meet or even surpass the current financial expectations for its first fiscal quarter, helped along by several customer wins.

Compaq expects to post $7.7bn (£5.4bn) in revenue for its first quarter ending 31 March. That would be slightly ahead of the $7.6bn expected by financial analysts, according to a consensus estimate gathered by Thomson Financial/First Call. Compaq also said it expected to meet or slightly exceed analysts' earnings forecast of $0.01 per share.

The company's rivals have tried hard to lure away customers as its merger with Hewlett-Packard hangs in limbo. Michael Capellas, Compaq's chairman and chief executive officer, said he was pleased with Compaq's ability to stay focussed in the tough climate.

The company cited customer wins in the health care, education and travel markets as the key to its financial results. Compaq is due to report its results for the period on 18 April.

The news follows a rare financial warning from rival IBM, which said that its revenue for the first quarter would probably fall between $18.4bn (£12.8bn) and $18.6bn, compared with $21bn in the same period last year.

IBM also said it expected earnings per share to be in the range of $0.66 to $0.70 per share. Analysts had been expecting earnings per share of $0.85, Thomson Financial said.

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