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Dell Earnings, Sales Beat Forecasts; Shares Leap

CNBC.com
Thursday, 29 May 2008 | 4:41 PM ET

Dell reported a profit and sales that were driven higher by strong demand and lower operating costs, outstripping analysts' forecasts and sending its shares jumping in after-hours trading.

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Dell's net income in the three months ended May 2 rose to $784 million, or 38 cents per share, from $759 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue was $16 billion, up 9 percent from a year earlier.

A consensus estimate compiled by Thomson Financial put Dell's earnings at 34 cents a share on revenue of $15.683 billion.

Dell shares jumped more than 8 percent in extended electronic trading Thursday after closing 0.55 percent higher at $21.81 during regular market hours.

Shares of the Round Rock, Texas-based company fell 7 percent during the first quarter to close at $18.63 at the end of April.

Dell said product shipments increased 22 percent in the quarter, driven by a 43 percent surge in unit sales of laptop computers.

"The upside, I think, was mainly from their share repurchases and slightly higher revenue," said Shannon Cross, an analyst with Cross Research. "The gross margin is in line."

"Dell's cost cutting is starting to benefit margins," Cross said. "Now the company needs to show that they can maintain and gain market share beyond just benefiting from channel fill of their retail partners."

Chief Financial Officer Don Carty told reporters on a conference call that he expects the company to keep growing faster than the overall industry and enjoy growing revenue, profitability and cash flow.

Dell also cut 3,700 jobs in the just-reported quarter.

The company, which in recent quarters has made a big push into the retail sector by selling computers through retailers, said consumer PC units shipped in the quarter grew at more than two times the industry rate.

"We are executing on all points of our strategy to drive growth in every product category and in every part of the world," Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Dell said in a statement.

Having fallen behind Hewlett-Packard in PC sales, the world's second-largest computer maker has been working on turning around its operations, focusing on notebook computers and emerging markets as well as growing both consumer and business lines.

The company is also cutting costs, including thousands of jobs, to stay competitive.

- Reuters contributed to this report.

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