Top In Tech: Dell

Investors are placing bets on Dell ahead of earnings Thursday. What should you expect after rival Hewlett Packard blew out numbers last week, which instantly sent the stock about 4% higher.

The situation is anything but clear-cut. Although consumers have been pinching pennies Dell was still able to out-ship Hewlett-Packard in the U.S. for the quarter, according to data from IDC, a technology research group based in Framingham, Mass.

However, analysts think lower prices may have contributed to the stronger-than-expected shipments domestically.

Does that mean margins will come under pressure?

FBR Research analyst Clay Sumner wrote in a research note that components such as LCD screens were costing Dell less than expected in the quarter, which may offset the effect of lower PC price tags on the company's margins.

“We’re looking for Dell to outperform,” adds Sumner on Fast Money. “I think margins could surprise to the upside.”

-----------(scroll down for Sumner's long-term outlook )---------------

And Sumner isn’t just bullish on the short term. He likes this stock through the end of the year.

“Going into the second half of the year we think there are still margin positive factors that are not getting enough credit on the Street,” he concludes.

The Bottom Line: “I think Dell gets to $30,” says Sumner. “And keep in mind that Michael Dell just bought $100 million of the stock a short while ago.”

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Trader disclosure: On Aug 27, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (BTU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE); Jon Najarian Owns (C), (JPM); Jon Najarian Owns (AAPL) And (AAPL) Calls; Jon Najarian Owns (ALF) Calls, (NTAP) Calls, (RMBS) Calls, (EWH) Calls, (UNG) Calls; Tatro Owns (C); Quint Tatro Is The Principal Of Tatro Capital; Tatro Capital Owns (FXI), (SHLD), (XHB), (XLF), (SMN); Tatro Capital Is Short (MON), (MOS), (POT), (RIMM); Terranova Owns (POT), (NOV), (SA), (GS), (KOL), (EOG), (VLO), (FCX), (RIMM), (AAPL), (X); Terranova Owns (AIG) Puts; Terranova Owns Dec. 2008 RBOB Gasoline Crack Futures

Terranova Is Chief Alternatives Strategist Of Phoenix Investment Partners, Ltd.; Phoenix Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (ABD), (ARE), (BRE), (CNTY), (CLB), (OFC), (DLR), (ESS), (EXR), (FL), (IAT), (IGE), (LNET), (MAC), (OIIM), (PSPT), (DBC), (DBV), (SLB), (SKT), (BLV);

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FBRC Is A Market Maker In (DELL)