Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ): What’s Wrong With The Stock Today?

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) just took a much-needed step toward a healthier business: Chairman Ray Lane and two other directors stepped down from the board of directors. Lane will remain a director but without the chairman’s leadership duties. Banking veteran G. Kennedy Thompson will leave the board entirely in May, alongside John Hammergren, who is also CEO of health care information company McKesson Corporation (NYSE:MCK). Activist investor Ralph Whitworth serves as chairman until further notice. No replacements have been named for the two outright departures.

Hewlett-Packard Company

Investors have been calling for something like this to happen. Each of these three directors earned less than 60% approval ratings in Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)’s recent annual shareholder meeting, while every other director won more than 90% “yea” votes. This is the kind of “vote of no confidence” that drove Michael Eisner out of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) nearly 10 years ago. When you’re running for office unopposed, you really should expect far higher approval ratings. Lane and company are simply following the will of their shareholders.

Moreover, Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)’s board has long been seen as a liability. Corporate-ethics expert Nell Minow quipped that these people might as well carry a banner saying, “We have no idea what we’re doing.” That was two years and two CEOs ago — not to mention the whole Autonomy debacle. A wholesale housecleaning is very much in order.

And yet Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) shares are down 1.6% on the news. It’s the third-worst performer on an already weak Dow Jones Industrial Average today. Financial giant American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) plunged 2.3% on weak payroll data, which will put direct pressure on the company’s top line. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) fell 2.2% due to terrible earnings at rival F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV); the entire networking sector is suffering today, and not even mighty Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is immune to sectorwide swings.

There are plenty of other losers on the Dow today, but only these two fared worse than Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ).

Why, then, is HP plunging on what looks like good news for the long-term health of the company? Well, change is always scary. The action may have underscored HP’s shaky situation to some investors. Maybe the changes didn’t go far enough; Lane is still on board, and his companions will stay around for another month.

The real reason is probably “all of the above.” That disgraceful shareholder vote set the stage for today’s action, but it still comes as a shock to the system.

Will CEO Meg Whitman pair up with interim chairman Whitworth and really shake HP up? I hope so. This is their chance to catch up with a rapidly changing market. The current strategy sure isn’t working.

The article What’s Wrong With HP Today? originally appeared on and is written by Anders Bylund.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out Anders’ bio and holdings or follow him on Twitter and Google+.The Motley Fool recommends American Express, Cisco Systems, F5 Networks, McCormick, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of F5 Networks and Walt Disney.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
Subscribe me to Insider Monkey's Free Daily Newsletter
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.