Stocks to Watch: Dell, J.C. Penney, Autodesk

NEW YORK -- Dell ( DELL) posted earnings on Thursday that came in below analysts' forecasts but the PC maker's revenue topped estimates.

Dell's Enterprise Solutions group booked a solid increase in revenue during the quarter, while hardware sales were dismal.

The company posted adjusted earnings of 21 cents a share, falling short of analysts' estimates of 35 cents a share. Dell reported first-quarter revenue of $14.1 billion, a 2% decrease from the prior year, but higher than consensus expectations of $13.5 billion.

The Enterprise Solutions group's successful first quarter threw weight behind activist investor Carl Icahn's bid to overtake Silver Lake Partners and founder Michael Dell's $13.65 a share offer to take the PC maker private. The numbers highlighted Icahn's argument that Dell's bid sharply undervalued the company's potential to become a serious enterprise computing company.

Meanwhile, the poor performance in hardware sales during the quarter gave credence to Dell's argument that a turnaround can't occur under the harsh light of the public eye, where calls for spinoffs have grown louder.

Icahn and Dell Both Gain From Dell Earnings


J.C. Penney ( JCP) on Thursday posted a first-quarter loss of $348 million, or $1.58 a share.

The adjusted loss for the quarter totaled $289 million, or $1.31 a share, which includes charges related to the retailer's restructuring and management transition.

The retailer disclosed last week that total sales for the quarter fell 16.4% from last year to $2.64 billion. J.C. Penney also said comparable-store sales declined by about 16.6% during the quarter.

JCPenney Reports Loss, Tumbles After-Market


Nordstrom ( JWN) said Thursday that net income in the first quarter declined 3%, hurt by weak demand for spring merchandise and softer performance in the Northeast and Midwest.

The retailer also lowered its revenue guidance for the year.


Autodesk's ( ADSK) adjusted first-quarter earnings were below Wall Street expectations, revenue declined 3%, and the software company on Thursday issued a weak second-quarter forecast.

Adjusted earnings were 42 cents a share. Revenue fell to $570.4 million from $588.6 million a year earlier,

Analysts were calling for earnings of 45 cents a share on revenue of $583.6 million.


Aruba Networks ( ARUN), the wireless communications company, posted a loss in its fiscal third quarter as customers delayed orders because of the weak global economy.


Stage Stores ( SSI) is expected by Wall Street on Friday to post first-quarter earnings of 9 cents a share.


-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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