NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. announced Friday that it should meet revenue and earnings goals for its fiscal fourth quarter and that it will conduct a $1 billion share buyback program.
The company also announced that Carly Fiorina, its chief executive, will assume the additional title of chairman, making her one of the few women to hold either title among the Fortune 500 firms. And it changed accounting firms due to previously announced negotiations to buy the global management and information technology consulting practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers, which had served as its accountant.
The company's statement said it remains confident of meeting its 15 percent revenue growth targets and is comfortable that it will meet the analysts' estimate of $1.03 per share for its fourth quarter, which ends next month.
The company earned 75 cents a share in the year-earlier period.
The company's earnings guidance came in the wake of Thursday evening's revenue warning from leading chip maker Intel Corp. (INTC: Research, Estimates), which sparked concerns about decreased demand for personal computers. The Intel announcement sent tech stocks sharply lower in both after-hours trading Thursday and at the start of trading Friday.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard (HWP: Research, Estimates), a component of the Dow Jones industrial average, bucked that trend, gaining $3.94 to $98.94 in early trading Friday.
It said the $1 billion in stock repurchase is to take advantage of attractive market prices and is in addition to an ongoing repurchase program designed to offset dilution associated with employee stock plans.
"HP's strong cash flow enables us to accelerate share repurchases while we continue to make the investments required to fuel our growth in the Internet era," said a statement from Robert Wayman, HP's chief financial officer.
Fiorina was named chief executive in July 1999, becoming the first woman to lead a Dow component. She came from Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU: Research, Estimates) where she had served as president of its global service provider business. She succeeds Dick Hackborn, a former HP executive and current member of the board of directors, who had been serving as HP's non-executive chairman.
"This appointment is a strong vote of confidence in Carly's leadership and the direction she has set for the company over the past 14 months," Hackborn said in a statement announcing the promotion. "Under her stewardship, the company is now poised for accelerating growth."
The company announced it hired Ernst & Young LLP as its new accounting firm. It said that the decision was made because of concerns by both HP and PricewaterhouseCoopers about the timing of ongoing negotiations. Those negotiations halted all accounting work by PricewaterhouseCoopers on Sept. 12, and the firm could not do accounting work for HP again until a deal is completed.
"Terms of the transaction have not been agreed upon, and significant issues remain to be resolved," said HP's statement. "There were no disagreements between HP and PwC regarding accounting principles or HP's audited financial statements."