Dell (DELL) - Get Report posted first-quarter earnings of 19 cents a share, topping the both the 27-analyst First Call/Thomson Financial estimate and the year-ago report of a 16-cent profit. The report included a 2-cent gain on outside investments.

The PC maker said revenues were $7.28 billion, a 31% increase from last year's $5.54 billion report. Vice Chairman Kevin Rollins, in an interview with

Reuters

, said he continues to see future revenues growing in the 30% range.

"The numbers were good," said Brian Gilmartin, portfolio manger at

Trinity Asset Management

. "Dell's revenues exceeded Dan Niles' estimate, which was pretty aggressive by $150 million," he said referring to the

Robertson Stephens

hardware analyst's income statement model. "They're notebook business as a percentage of core systems revenue, jumped 7% in terms of year over year, that where I think the number was made."

Although the company saw solid sales in the U.S. and Asia, Dell said its European business is still dragging. Rollins said Europe, which only had a first-quarter growth rate of 17%, would be have a positive effect on revenue growth by next year. "We see it performing by the end of the year at where it can, and should

be -- at or above the corporate average," said Rollins.

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom covered the Dell release in a separate

story, and see

The Night Watch for a look at Dell's postclose trading activity.

Xerox

(XRX) - Get Report

said G. Richard Thoman has stepped down from his roles as president and CEO. Xerox said Chairman Paul Allaire would replace Thoman as CEO in a two-year term, while general markets operations president, Anne Mulcahy, was tapped as its new president and COO. Mulcahy is also up for election to Xerox's board on May 18, during its annual shareholders meeting. Thoman's resignation comes after several profit shortfalls. Since the beginning of September, the stock has lost almost half its share value, falling from a trading range of 49 to today's closing price of 25 1/2. A former IBM executive, Thoman came to Xerox as its president and COO. In April 1999, Thoman replaced Allaire in the role of CEO.

In other postclose news (earnings estimates from

First Call/Thomson Financial

; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified):

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Actel

(ACTL)

said it would pay $5.25 a share for

GateField

(GATE)

, a logic solutions developer. Actel, which designs software, said it would work to further develop GateField's

ProASIC

technology. At the close of the fourth quarter, GateField had roughly 4.7 million shares outstanding.

Agilent Technologies

(A) - Get Report

entered a deal to purchase

Salient 3

(STCIA)

division

Safco Technologies

. The details were not given, but according to a statement the acquisition is valued at roughly $120 million in cash.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Airgas

(ARG)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 8 cents a share, missing the five-analyst estimate by a penny and down from the year-ago 10-cent profit.

Hadco

(HDC)

reported second-quarter earnings of 75 cents a share, beating the five-analyst estimate of 70 cents and up from the year-ago 34-cent profit.

Nordstrom

(JWN) - Get Report

posted first-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share, in line with the 24-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 22-cent profit. The department store chain also said

same-store sales increased 5.3% in the first quarter, compared to the year-ago report.

Offerings and stock actions

Cox Radio

(CXR)

set a 3-for-1 stock split.

TriQuint Semiconductor

(TQNT)

set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Miscellany

Adolph Coors

(RKY)

said it has tapped Peter Coors as its president and CEO. Peter Coors will be replacing William Coors, who will continue to serve as the company's chairman.

Arthrocare

(ARTC)

said it received

Food and Drug Administration

approval for its

Coblation

technology, which is used to remedy some ear, nose and throat obstructions.

Lear

(LEA) - Get Report

said it has selected its COO and president, Robert Rossiter to serve as its new CEO. Rossiter will replace Kenneth Way, who will remain the company's chairman, on Oct. 1.

For a look into this evening's after-hours trading action, please check out

TheStreet.com's

The Night Watch.