shares jumped 6% to a one-month high Friday after the world's largest computer manufacturer reported solid first-quarter financials and provided second-quarter targets that show its expansion, both internationally and into new markets, is proceeding apace.
The stock climbed $2.19 to $38.80 in midday Friday trading. Shares are still down for the year and off of a four-and-a-half-year peak of $42 logged in December, but the stock has rallied more than 10% in the past 11 sessions.
"The company has the only viable model in a world moving toward standard-based hardware systems," Charlie Wolf, a Needham & Co. analyst, wrote in a morning research note. Wolf owns Dell shares.
Despite that singular view, stocks of other technology companies rose Friday on the strength of Dell's report.
both logged gains, as did
Dell said after the bell Thursday that it posted earnings of $934 million, or 37 cents a share, on sales of $13.4 billion for the April quarter. During the same quarter last year, Dell earned $731 million, or 28 cents a share, on sales of $11.5 billion.
Analysts had expected earnings of 37 cents a share on sales of $13.4 billion, on average, according to Thomson First Call.
Gross margin was 18.6% compared with 18.5% in the previous quarter and 18% in the first quarter last year. Dell's net income was helped by a reduced tax rate of 24%, down from 46% in the previous quarter and 28% in the first quarter last year and $2 billion spent on share repurchases.
Round Rock, Texas-based Dell highlighted its international growth and its sales of storage and mobile products as key drivers for the quarter.
"As Dell continues to gain traction in higher margin growth categories, we believe the overall profit profile for the company could improve materially from current levels," wrote Prudential Equity Group analyst Steven Fortuna, who owns no shares in the company.
For the second quarter, Dell said it expects earnings of 37 cents to 39 cents a share and sales between $13.6 billion and $13.8 billion. Analysts had expected earnings of 38 cents a share on sales of $13.6 billion. Dell said it would now provide a range for its financial guidance as it tries to be opportunistic about quickly chasing down new revenue.
"We're still confident that the market is healthy," said Dell CEO Kevin Rollins during a conference call Thursday. "It's not explosive, and it's not trailing off."
Rollins said April was the strongest month of the quarter, but that was expected and trying to extrapolate beyond isn't necessarily wise. "That is one data point and we don't take one data point up or down as an indicator. It's something that was anticipated."
Still, investors and analysts saw that Dell's business is performing well in an environment that is proceeding along seasonal patterns. By product line, sales of desktop PCs advanced 6% to $5.3 billion from the same quarter last year, mobile sales rose 22% to $3.3 billion, servers rose 12% to $1.3 billion, storage rose 49% to $400,000, enhanced services rose 30% to $1.1 billion and software and peripherals rose 29% to $2 billion.
"Clearly, Dell's price and cost leadership strategy is paying dividends in these new markets, with consumers drawn to the brand and attractive retail price tags," wrote analyst Matthew Smith with CIBC World Markets in a note to clients. Smith doesn't own shares of Dell.