"When your kids don't like a product... we tend to listen to them," he said, adding that "they're much more involved in the mainstream." Shares of Dell ( DELL) popped 13% to close at $12.29, after Bloomberg News reported that the company was negotiating with private equity firms in a possible bid to take Dell private. With PC demand continuing to decline, Dell has been flailing about in an effort to transform itself into a provider of higher-margin technology services, on the order of IBM ( IBM). Dell acquired Quest Software for $2.4 billion in September. The KBW Bank Index ( I:BKX) was down slightly to close at 52.95, with all but eight of the index components seeing declines. Bank earnings season will be in full swing on Wednesday, when JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Goldman Sachs ( GS) and Bank of New York Mellon ( BK) announce their fourth-quarter results, with Bank of America, Citigroup ( C), Capital One ( COF), PNC ( PNC), BB&T ( BBT) and Huntington Bancshares ( HBAN) set to make their announcements on Thursday.
Bank of America
Bank of America's shares are down 1% so far in 2013, after rising 110% during 2012. The shares had fallen 58% during 2011. Putting all those numbers together, the shares are down 13% since the end of 2010. Last week was a very busy one for Bank of America, with the company beginning the week by announcing that it expected its fourth-quarter earnings to be "modestly positive," as a result of its mortgage putback settlement with Fannie Mae ( FNMA) and because of its participation in an $8.5 billion mortgage foreclosure settlement with federal regulators. Then on Wednesday, Credit Suisse analyst Moshe Orenbuch downgraded Bank of America to a neutral rating from an "Outperform" rating, even though he raised his price target for the shares by a dollar to $12.00. The analyst said that the stock's "current valuation appears to be ahead of the company's near to intermediate-term performance and appears to be discounting significantly faster improvements in efficiency than we would be expecting." Orenbuch added that "At its current valuation, the shares appear to be discounting at least a 16% improvement in costs over the next year vs. our estimate of 10%," and that "despite the announced mortgage servicing sales, it will take until 2014 for the annual run-rate of expense saves. Separately, we think it will be hard for Bank of America to grow revenues faster than the 'average' bank."