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Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc (GOOG): Why Is Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) Soaring Today?

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) is showing signs of life again. Shares of the technology giant jumped more than 5.8% in early trading and are up nearly 3% as of 1:45 p.m. EDT, making it the strongest Dow Jones performer of the day by a wide margin.

Hewlett-Packard CompanyThe stock trades at a firm 52-week high and has easily outpaced its Dow peers. In fact, Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) shares have now doubled in value in 2013, while the average Dow stock has gained 20%. It’s a downright miraculous bounce off the long-term lows that were set during the winter. Today’s jump is a heavy layer of icing on the cake.

So why is Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) soaring today in particular?

Well, there’s one piece of good news, though it’s sadly lacking in specifics. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) just settled a long-running price-fixing lawsuit with Chinese and Taiwanese computer-display makers. The suit alleged that companies like Tatung and Chunghwa had swindled more than $1 billion out of Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) when notebooks and desktops were hot.

But that’s hardly the whole story. Sure, HP may have settled for a large sum of monetary damages — but we don’t have that kind of detail yet. The suit may have been settled for peanuts, or maybe even nothing at all. It would seem a gamble to assume that HP walked away significantly richer.

But there’s another potentially explosive tidbit in the news today. File this one under “rumors,” but it’s an interesting one.

Taiwanese tech site DigiTimes says HP is putting together a brand-new smartphone. This rumor comes from discussions with Taiwanese supply-chain players, which are fighting for a place in Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)’s new handsets. This follows earlier comments by Asia-based HP executive Yam Su Yin, who said HP definitely wants to get back in the smartphone game but didn’t offer any clues on a timetable.

That nugget of pre-confirmation is what makes this more than just a silly rumor. DigiTimes is notoriously hit-and-miss, breaking a few stories early but hardly with the regularity of The Wall Street Journal‘s or Bloomberg‘s anonymous sources.

Smartphones could be a game-changer for HP if the company can pull it off. HP hasn’t looked at ultra-mobile computing since shutting down the Palm division in 2011, instead choosing to stick with laptops and other traditional systems.

That being said, the deck remains stacked against HP in the smartphone market. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung have emerged as the players to beat, largely splitting the sector’s entire sales and profits between them.

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