First up this week is computer giant Dell (DELL), a stock that's been taking full advantage of bullishness in the broad market in 2012. Year-to-date, shares of the $32 billion computer manufacturer have rallied more than 20%, besting the broad market by a big margin.
But Dell can't rest on its laurels if shareholders want that performance to keep pace for the rest of the year.It wasn't long ago that Dell drew comparisons with Apple (AAPL), handily beating out the iPhone maker in the computer business. But while Apple transformed its business completely, Dell remains entrenched in the computer business, an industry that's become heavily commoditized and saturated. Even though Dell enjoys a commendable share of the market, this firm doesn't own a defensible economic moat anymore. Management has been working to change that lately. The company has refocused on the enterprise IT hardware and services market, a business that's ballooned to more than a quarter of Dell's total revenues. If Dell can prove to big-spending enterprise customers that it has best-in-breed solutions, the firm should be able to fuel margin growth and carve out a more defensible position. With analyst sentiment ticking higher in shares, we're betting on Dell ahead of the firm's Feb. 21 earnings call. Dell, one of TheStreet Ratings' top-rated hardware stocks, shows up on a recent list of 9 Stocks Giving Mutual Funds a Breakout Year.
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