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Hewlett-Packard posts lower quarterly earnings

SAN FRANCISCO — Battling declining demand for personal computers, Hewlett-Packard Co., the largest maker of PCs, reported lower quarterly earnings Thursday. They were significantly higher than analysts expected, however.

‘‘The turnaround is starting to gain traction as a result of the actions we took in 2012 to lay the foundation of HP’s future,’’ said Meg Whitman, chief executive. ‘‘I feel good about the rest of the year.’’

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Net income fell 16 percent to $1.2 billion, or 63 cents a share, from the year-earlier quarter. Revenue fell 6 percent, to $28.4 billion.

Analysts had expected net income of 71 cents a share and revenue of $27.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Demand for PCs has been shrinking because of the popularity of tablets and smartphones, which HP does not make. And servers face shrinking profit margins as more companies look beyond brand names and buy low-priced machines in bulk from Asia.

Under Whitman, HP has focused on restructuring its printers and high-end server business to incorporate more data-analysis software that searches for documents and compiles reports. She has warned, however, that the turnaround may take until 2017. In 2012, the company said it would lay off 29,000 employees.

HP’s earnings announcement comes two days after a report of lower revenue and earnings by Dell Computer, HP’s main American rival. Dell’s first-quarter revenue fell 11 percent, to $14.3 billion; net income was off 31 percent, to $530 million, or 30 cents a share.

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