A pedestrian walks near HP Inc. signage at the entrance to the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Monday, May 22, 2016. HP Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on May 25. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
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The shares of HP regained their ground on Thursday in volatile trading after initially slipping after it revealed a disappointing outlook.

The company known for its PCs and printers said it expected to post adjusted earnings of 34 to 37 cents a share in the current quarter, shy of Wall Street expectations for 40 cents.

Forecast earnings were down even as the group unveiled better than expected results for the quarter to July 31.

Net earnings fell to $783m in the fiscal third quarter, from $854m in the same three-month period in 2015. Adjusted earnings per share of 48 cents topped forecasts of 45 cents.

Sales dipped 4 per cent to $11.9bn, but still beat estimates of $11.5bn.

“Given the challenges in PCs, HP executed well,” said Abhey Lamba, an analyst at Mizuho Securities, who added that the group “benefited from its focus on more profitable segments of the PC market”. Still, “printing remained challenged”, he said.

HP, which separated from its enterprise division in 2015, fell as much as 5.9 per cent to $13.55, before trimming its losses to close little-changed at $14.37. It had risen by 21.6 per cent this year as of Wednesday’s close.

Elsewhere, Tiffany shares rose 6.4 per cent to $73.28 after the high-end jeweller revealed stronger than expected quarterly profits as cost-cuts helped offset a sales decline.

The group said net earnings climbed to $105.7m, or 84 cents a share, in the quarter through to July 31, from $104.9m, or 81 cents a share, in the same three-month period in 2015. Wall Street analysts forecast profits of 71 cents a share.

Revenues declined 5.9 per cent on a year-on-year basis to $931.6m, missing estimates of $933.9m. Global like-for-like sales were down 9 per cent when adjusted for currency fluctuations.

“The global environment continues to reflect well-known challenges that we believe have had broad effects on spending by local customers, as well as foreign tourists, especially from China,” said Frederic Cumenal, chief executive, adding that the group was “managing expenses efficiently”.

The broader markets wobbled in a tight range. The S&P 500 was 0.1 per cent lower at 2,172.5, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.2 per cent to 18,448.4 and the Nasdaq Composite ceded 0.1 per cent to 5,212.2.

A remarkable sense of calm, even for the generally sleepy time of the year, has descended upon Wall Street.

Low levels of volatility “are a strong outlier, not just compared to 2016, but against the average for all Augusts since 2000”, Citigroup analysts said on Thursday, noting that begs the question of whether “we are at an inflection point”.

Citi is not alone in its concern about the unusually high level of complacency that has come as US stocks have notched record highs.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts noted earlier this week that investor bets that the Vix would fall had hit record levels recently.

“While this may not be an outright bearish signal for equity markets, it does suggest that the market may be more vulnerable to volatility spikes,” the analysts said.

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