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Strong growth in the US and Asia helped Hewlett-Packard notch the latest in a series of strong quarters, according to new figures released on Wednesday.

Driving the performance also was an increase in the profitability of HP’s personal computer business.

Shares in HP, the world’s biggest computer company, rose 1.7 per cent in after-hours trading on the news.

Mark Hurd, chief executive, hailed the “strong performance”.

He said: “While we still have considerable work ahead of us, I am confident we can continue to execute with discipline and deliver strong financial returns.”

HP said it made a net profit of $1.8bn, or 65 cents a share, on its second fiscal quarter, on sales of $25.5bn.

Profit was down slightly from $1.9bn last time, owing to a one-off tax benefit in the second quarter last year.

Excluding the impact of a one-off tax gain last year, profit rose 27 per cent while net sales rose 13 per cent.

The results were in line with an updated forecast issued by the computer maker last week.

HP was forced to pre-empt its earnings announcement after an employee accidentally released sensitive financial information about the second quarter to an unidentified outside party.

HP’s stock price rose 2 per cent in the wake of that announcement.

For the coming quarter, HP reiterated its previous forecast of earnings per share of 64 to 65 cents on sales of $23.7bn to $23.9bn. HP trumpeted fresh progress in its bid to boost the profitability of its PC business.

The business group’s operating margin – an important measure of profitability – rose to 4.8 per cent of revenues in the second quarter, a record, and up from just 3.6 per cent last time.

Although HP has made big strides in restoring overall profitability since Mr Hurd arrived as chief executive in 2005, margins at the company still lag those of IBM, which sold off its low-margin PC business to Lenovo that same year in a bid to focus on sales of corporate computer systems.

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