Dinging Dell -- again!:
reports first-quarter earnings May 11, it should have no problem meeting Wall Street estimates of 16 cents a share, "because they set the bar low enough," says money manager Bill Fleckenstein of
in Seattle, who is short Dell's stock. He's referring to what in all likelihood will be earnings that are flat compared with those of a year earlier.
What concerns Fleckenstein, who was quoted
here in January accurately predicting Dell's miss of its fourth quarter, is Dell guidance regarding the second quarter. "There's absolutely no way they can get to the following quarter's estimate of 21 cents," he says. "Doing so would require them to be up 10% year-over-year in terms of earnings."
He cites the same thing he's been citing for months: Corporate PC demand has fallen off a cliff. (Not to mention that it's trading at 81 times last year's earnings after two missed quarters and one that is likely to be flat.) He doesn't know whether Dell will guide lower on its postearnings conference call or sometime the following quarter, but he doesn't see how it can avoid doing so. And if they don't, "I don't know whether they'll have Internet wampum (from investment gains) to make it, but operationally, there's no way they'll make 21 cents."
We'll see. In the meantime, please, enough with the emails about why I bother quoting someone like Fleckenstein, who was early in his PC industry concerns. I quote him because when it comes to the performance of PC-related companies, lately
he's been on the money!
And while we're at it: Don't waste your time asking me to ask him to disclose his investment performance. I really don't care about the performance of his fund; I care about his performance as a source.
It's been more than a year since
Family Golf Centers
was first mentioned
here. This'll probably mark the last time. The operator of driving ranges yesterday said it defaulted on loans under a $130 million credit facility by failing to make monthly interest payments and now may have to file for bankruptcy. Its stock now trades at just 5/16.
"Since you tend to view things with a healthy dose of skepticism (realism), did you notice that last week
crack analyst on
downgraded the stock from a buy to neutral?" asks one anonymous reader. "It was a buy for the last two years -- all the way down from 50 to 6. The same exact thing happened with
-- strong buy until the stock had dropped from 40 to something like 5, before finally announcing plans to reorganize, when it was downgraded to neutral." Always the last to know!
As originally published, this story contained an error. Please see
Corrections and Clarifications.
Herb Greenberg writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at
email@example.com. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.
Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.