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Dell Earnings Easily Beat Wall Street's Expectations

Dellreported a quarterly profit that blew past expectations Thursday, despite sales that were short of what the Street was looking for. Dell's margins also beat forecasts, and it raised its full-year outlook.

Dell
AP
Dell

The company's shares, which were halted immediately after the market closed Thursday, jumped sharply higher after resuming trading.

The world's No. 2 PC maker reported a profit of 45 cents a share in the third quarter, versus 23 cents a share in the same period last year.

Sales for the most recent quarter mushroomed to $15.4 billion, up from $12.896 billion a year ago.

A group of 31 analysts who follow Dell expected the company to report earnings ex-items of 32 cents a share on sales of $15.756 billion on average, according to Thomson Reuters.

Dell, which benefited from falling prices for components such as hard drives and memory, said it expects full-year revenue to track toward the mid-point of the 14 percent to 19 percent range it set earlier in the year and non-GAAP operating income to grow between 28 and 32 percent, which was above its earlier forecast.

"The revenues look a little bit light but the earnings look pretty strong," said Brian Marshall, an analyst with Gleacher & Co. "The consumer business remains muted while the commercial business and enterprise business remains stable. It's kind of as-expected."

Analysts pointed to a big beat on Dell's closely watched gross margin number: about 20 percent in the third quarter versus expectations of 17.5 percent.

"Gross margin is obviously the key headline here at 20 percent, obviously well above the Street," said Stifel Nicolaus analyst Aaron Rakers. "Leverage in the model is going to be key as people gauge the sustainability of what was a very strong gross margin number."

Dell reported net earnings, which includes one-time items, of $822 million, or 42 cents a share, up from $337 million, or 17 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Shares of the PC maker were up more than 6 percent in extended trading. Get after-hour quotes for Dell here.

The shares moved higher during Thursday's regular Nasdaq session on a generally positive days for stocks. Volume exceeded 26 million shares.