Hewlett-Packard posted better-than-expected first quarter results yesterday, benefiting from stronger than expected computer and printer sales over Christmas.

The company returned revenues of $11.4 billion for the quarter, compared to 12.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. The company made $564 million in profit for the period, excluding charges, compared to $812 million in the quarter a year ago.

HP's consumer PC revenue jumped 53 per cent over the previous quarter, confirming the strong holiday gains. Digital-camera and photo-printer revenue also surged 30 per cent over the past quarter, and 34 per cent over the past year's first quarter, according to a statement.

Spending slump HP Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina warned that spending in the technology sector is not likely to pick up soon. She said: "We continue to believe a recovery won't occur until the second half of this year."

Slow sales of business products made the company cautious about the coming quarters. HP's server revenue fell 21 per cent, processor sales fell 21 per cent and revenue for storage products shrank 13 per cent.

"While the holiday spending season was a pleasant surprise, we're not counting on it repeating in this post-holiday quarter," Fiorina said. The company expects second-quarter revenue to fall slightly below the first quarter's total.

Sales in almost every region fell when compared to figures from the first quarter of 2001. China, however, provided a bright spot with 9 per cent growth.