Shares of

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

were trading higher today, but the other boxmakers lost ground or hovered near the flatline following a pair of analyst reports on Wednesday morning.

Goldman Sachs

initiated coverage on Dell, placing the PC maker on the firm's U.S. recommended for purchase list, while handing out a market outperform rating for

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

,

Compaq

(CPQ)

and

Gateway

(GTW)

. Additionally,

Merrill Lynch

put Dell on its Focus One list.

The sector has done well this year, with many of the big names in the industry posting double-digit increases. Dell has gained 48.2% since the beginning of the year, when its shares went for $17.50 each. Dell closed at $25.94 on Tuesday and gained $1.09, or 4.2%, to $27.03 in recent

Nasdaq trading. Apple is up 58% this year, but was off 2.1% to $23.01 today.

Gateway has climbed 10.6% since the beginning of the year, but the stock recently slipped 1.2% to $18.85 on the

New York Stock Exchange. Compaq, which today rose 0.5% to $17.79, is up 19.6% for the year.

Among the hardware-making

Dow components,

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

is up 1.8% for the year, but was off 79 cents, or 2.5%, to $30.02 in recent market activity.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

has jumped 39.1% this year, closing yesterday at $118.01. Big Blue tacked on 0.5% to $118.60 today.