PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) _ Hewlett-Packard Co. earned $960 million in its fiscal first quarter, exceeding Wall Street's expectations.

The nation's second-largest computer company said Tuesday it earned 92 cents a share, compared to 86 cents, or $929 million, in last year's first-quarter mark. Analysts surveyed by First Call Corp. had expected the company to earn 83 cents per share.

``We've achieved a good profit outcome despite softness in some of our businesses and weak revenue growth,'' said Hewlett-Packard president Lewis Platt. ``Our profit reflects the fact that we continue to tune our business models and cost structures. Manufacturing efficiencies have risen substantially, and we've kept tight controls on discretionary spending.''

Platt said the company is still not meeting growth objectives.

``We need to stay sharply focused on stimulating business while remaining sensitive to the need for careful expense management,'' he said.

Revenue for the quarter was $11.94 billion, compared with $11.82 billion last year.

Orders for the quarter were down 1 percent at $12.2 billion, compared with $12.4 billion in the same period last year. Orders in the United States fell 3 percent, to $5.2 billion. Orders from outside the United States remained steady at $7.1 billion.

The earnings were released after stock markets had closed for the day. Before the announcement, Hewlett-Packard shares fell $5.93 3/4 to close at $70.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.