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HP Financial Services, which is kept distinct from other services work at HP, had sales of $764m in the quarter, up 14 percent from the year ago quarter and, as the exception to the other groups, rose sequentially from fiscal Q2 by a little more than a point. Financial Services brought $72m to the operating earnings line, up a tidy 35.8 per cent. The company has $10.5bn of assets in its leasing portfolio, up 13 per cent compared to a year ago.

Lesjak said in the call that revenues were up across the major geographies in Q3, with sales up 9 per cent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to $10.9bn, with revenues in Asia/Pacific up 14 per cent to $5.6bn. The Americas region showed 12 per cent growth in the quarter, to $14.2bn. The BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India, and China - had 21 per cent revenue growth.

"We feel good about our broad-based performance," Lesjak said in the call. And the top managers at HP - Ann Livermore, who runs the Enterprise Business; Todd Bradley, who runs PSG; and Vyomesh Joshi, who runs IPG - all backed her up on that time and again in the call. In a way, they were all auditioning for the CEO position, which Lesjak has said repeatedly that she does not want.

Looking ahead to Q4, and no doubt to give HP investors something to feel happy about, Lesjak said that HP was raising its guidance for the fourth quarter and for the full 2010 fiscal year. In Q4, HP says it can bring in $32.5bn to $32.7bn in revenues, up 5.9 per cent compared to Q4 last year, and earnings per share of $1.03 to $1.05. For the full year, Lesjak said to expect $125.3bn to $125.5bn, up 9.1 per cent compared to Q4 last year, with EPS coming in at $3.62 to $3.64. Those are pretty tight ranges.

And one that HP thinks it can hit regardless of not having a CEO at the moment. When asked about if HP had put together a "delta force" team of executives to do glad-handing at HP's top accounts, Livermore said that HP's sales reps and executives within each of the HP groups and division have plenty of relationships with top accounts. While having the CEO show up for a sales meeting helps, Livermore said "there's no wavering, there's no questioning" at HP's top accounts. ®

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