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The Ratings Game: HP stock downgraded amid ‘deteriorating PC demand’ and questions about office printing

HP Inc.’s stock may have a tough road ahead, but shares of another maker of personal computers could fare better.

That’s according to Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers, who downgraded HP’s

stock to underweight from equal weight Friday. At the same time, he noted that Dell Technologies Inc.’s

stock is one of his top picks.

“We think there is increasing scenario in which HP shares could see relative underperformance through the remainder of 2022 and into 2023,” Rakers wrote in his note to clients. He added that he has a positive stance on the company’s free-cash-flow potential, but he has broader macroeconomic concerns about the company.

“[W]e think deteriorating PC demand and macro sensitivity in print could result in material downward [estimate] revisions,” Rakers said. He also noted that “investors could continue to struggle with HP’s expectation that printing in the office will return to ~80% of pre-COVID levels.”

Read: PC industry suffered worst decline in years

Additionally, he worried that the pace of HP’s buybacks could slow down as the company nears the completion of its $3.3 billion all-cash acquisition of Poly, a maker of workplace technologies. That acquisition was announced in March.

See more: HP to purchase Poly in $3.3 billion deal as it seizes upon office redesigns

HP shares were off more than 3% in premarket trading Friday.

Meanwhile, Rakers continues to have an upbeat view on Dell, which he views “as a more defensible and self-help story in a potentially slowing enterprise demand environment.” Dell has a track record of “nimble supply-chain management/flexibility” and higher exposure to commercial computers, according to Rakers.

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