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Even so, Whitman’s decade-long stewardship of eBay Inc. has won over some market watchers, who say her strong personality will help focus HP’s disparate businesses.

“For a company this size, there are so many different businesses, you need a good leader, someone that people respect, and this board is not going to push around Meg Whitman,” said Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities. “I think it’s a good choice. It doesn’t mean she’ll succeed. She has her work cut out for her. But the odds are she’ll have more success than Leo.”

The stock decline carries a glimmer of hope, according to some analysts. It may have fallen so far that it’s due for a rebound.

Alexander, for instance, has a $34 price target on the shares, more than $10 per share higher than where they’re trading now. Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek has a target price of $40 per share, and rates HP’s stock a “buy.”