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Updated from 12:49 a.m. EST



) --


(DELL) - Get Free Report

fourth-quarter results

came in above Wall Street's estimates, boosted by strength in its consumer and enterprise businesses, although the company's profit took a dip from year-ago levels.

Shares of Dell were at $13.50 in premarket trading Friday. The shares closed Thursday's regular session at $14.43.

Hot on the heels of

good results from rival Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) - Get Free Report

, which was boosted by strong PC sales, Dell brought in revenue of $14.9 billion, up from $13.4 billion in the prior year's quarter, and well above the $13.85 billion predicted by analysts.

Dell's profit, however, was down slightly, despite beating the average analysts' forecast. Excluding items, Dell earned 28 cents a share, down from 29 cents a share in the same period last year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had predicted earnings of 27 cents a share, on average, for the quarter ended Jan. 29.

Dell also saw its revenue for fiscal 2010 slump compared to the prior year, falling 13% from $61.1 billion to $52.9 billion, underlining the company's gradual emergence from the recession.

The computer maker nonetheless enjoyed strength in its consumer business during the fourth quarter, which grew 11% year over year to reach sales of $3.5 billion. Dell's enterprise business was also robust, with revenue climbing 8% to reach $4.2 billion.

The results were Dell's first to include revenue from its

$3.9 billion acquisition of Perot Systems last year

. Revenue from the Dell Services division increased 51%, according to the Texas-based firm, thanks largely to Perot's contribution.

There were

high hopes for Dell

in the run-up to its results, although some analysts have

warned investors to approach the company's stock with caution

. In addition to fierce competition from the likes of H-P and


(IBM) - Get Free Report

, analysts also cited margin pressure as weighing on the company's stock.

Dell's gross margin was 16.6% of revenue during the fourth quarter. Excluding items, this figure was 17.4%. JPMorgan had forecast a gross margin of 18.4%.

In keeping with its recent financial results, Dell did not give specific guidance, instead issuing a statement about the broader business climate.

"Dell saw demand in the important commercial business continuing to return during the fourth quarter and is cautiously optimistic that this trend will continue into fiscal year 2011," it said.

"We saw solid growth return to the business in the quarter," added Brian Gladden, the Dell CFO, during a conference call after market close on Thursday. "We're cautiously optimistic with how our new fiscal year is starting up."

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

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