Hewlett-Packard results last night beat expectations as net profit rose 14%, easing fears that slowing economies and a stronger dollar would weaken the world's biggest computer and printer maker and its rivals.

Signs that weakness in the US economy is spreading have unnerved investors over the possibility that technology customers would cut budgets and trim tech companies' profits in the process.

HP reported net profits for its third quarter to July 31 of $2.03 billion, or 80 cents a share. Excluding once-off items, HP reported profit of 86 cents a share, ahead of the average analyst expectation of 84 cents.

Revenue rose 10.5% to $28 billion, also ahead of expectations. Without the benefit of currency movements, however, revenue grew by only 4.7%.

HP forecast fourth-quarter profit, excluding once-off items, of $1.01 to $1.03 a share, ahead of the average analyst view of $1. The company forecast revenue of $30.2 billion to $30.3 billion, slightly behind the average forecast of $30.4 billion.

Revenue in the personal systems division rose 15% to $10.3 billion. Notebook revenue grew 26% from last year, while desktop revenue rose 6%. Imaging and printing revenue grew 3%. Enterprise storage and servers revenue was up 5%. Services revenue rose 14%.