June 1, 2012 / 12:30 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-Jefferies downgrades HP on fears of tepid demand

* Cuts HP stock to “hold” from “buy”

* Cuts price target to $23 from $30

* Says tablets, smartphones will hurt PC, printer sales

June 1 (Reuters) - Hewlett Packard Co’s recently announced cost cuts will not be enough to offset tepid European demand and a shrinking market for PCs and printers, Jefferies & Co said and cut its rating on the stock to “hold” from “buy”.

The world’s No. 1 personal computer maker recently announced plans to lay off roughly 27,000 workers, or 8 percent of its workforce, in a bid to generate annual savings of $3 billion to $3.5 billion.

However, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said that even a well-articulated strategy and roadmap will likely be overwhelmed.

“Tablets will hurt PCs and Windows 8 will not help, smartphones will hurt printers, and European uncertainty will hurt enterprise IT spending,” Misek wrote in a note to clients.

The accelerating popularity of mobile computing devices such as Apple Inc’s iPad has been eroding PC sales for years, and a downturn in the European markets has added to the pressure.

“While consensus thinks Windows 8 will boost PCs, we think it will accelerate tablet cannibalization as the operating system focuses on touch,” he added.

Misek, a four-star rated analyst according to Thomson Reuters StarMine for the accuracy of his earnings estimates, also cut his price target on the stock to $23 from $30.

HP’s shares were marginally down at $22.36 in pre-market trade on Friday. They closed at $22.68 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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