Dell ( DELL) investors, still gasping from their darling's southward trajectory this year, got a bit of relief this week as the stock made a U-turn and gained about 2% as techs rallied. Many are hoping that Dell can parlay its play in the printing business into more gains on Wall Street -- but Goldman Sachs hardware maven Laura Conigliaro says not just yet.

As we all know, consumables, whether razor blades or ink jet cartridges, deliver repetitive sales and higher margins, so analysts figure that as Dell sells more printer supplies, it will see a substantial upside. Conigliaro says that printer margins for the giant PC maker should move from break-even to a more substantial mid-4% range. "While notable, this is still not enough to move the needle in a meaningful way as far as earnings -- and therefore stock performance -- is concerned," she said in a recent note to clients. (Goldman has an investment-banking relationship with Dell.)

Dell, meanwhile, continues to get lots of bad press in an area that was once one of its biggest strengths: consumer satisfaction. Media critic and tech watcher Jeff Jarvis started the public pillorying in his blog in June, recounting an ugly series of encounters with Dell support as he tried to get his new computer to run. Now BusinessWeek is piling on, running an anecdote-filled, 1,600-word story that even steers readers to an "I hate Dell" Web site.

Dell could well argue that anecdotes are nothing more than, well, anecdotes, and the company points to a 35% increase in consumer satisfaction as measured by its monthly survey of 50,000 customers. But customer-satisfaction stats may not wash with consumers.

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