After months of tightening budgets,

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

is set to benefit from a rebound in PC sales as signs emerge that consumers and businesses are slowly re-opening their wallets.

The tech giant, which derives much of its revenue from PC sales, has taken its share of

body blows

during the economic slowdown. The Round Rock, Texas-based firm suffered

weaker-than-expected

sales in its first quarter, thanks to slumping demand for PCs and network storage equipment.

At least one analyst, however, feels that Dell's PC business may be turning the corner.

"Our checks throughout the supply chain in Asia give us greater confidence that PC shipments are rebounding in June, following a weaker-than-expected May," wrote Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey, in a note released Monday. "PC demand should improve in the second half of the year."

Bailey, who upgraded Dell to "neutral" from "sell," added that Dell's ongoing efforts to outsource its product development and manufacturing should help the firm's margins.

For the long term it seems likely that Dell may adjust its business model, potentially shifting into high-margin areas such as software and services.

"Dell's lack of diversification beyond PC hardware and into less-transactional and higher-margin services and software will ultimately have negative implications for Dell's revenue growth, margins and earnings, if the company doesn't aggressively change its strategy," wrote Bailey.

The Wall Street Journal

recently reported that Dell was planning a

"significant"

acquisition, possibly in storage or services. And

Palm

has emerged as an attractive potential

target

for Dell, pushing the firm into the booming smartphone space. Such a move, which would elevate Dell into one of the

hottest

parts of the tech sector, would also be risky, pitting the firm against smartphone monsters

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

,

Research In Motion

(RIMM)

and

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

.

Shrewdly, Dell has also

ramped up

its

efforts

in the

netbook

market. Last month the PC maker unveiled a netbook aimed specifically at younger students which is made from easy-to-grip rubber and offers an anti-microbial keyboard.

Any hints of a turnaround in Dell's PC business could also be good news for rivals

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

and

Lenovo

.

Chinese

tech behemoth Lenovo, for example, recently reported a

loss

during its fiscal fourth quarter, and H-P has also felt the effects of the spending slowdown.

During its recent second quarter, H-P's Personal Systems Group posted

flat

unit shipments, but revenue fell 19% to $8.2 billion. Notebook revenue for the quarter was down 13%, while desktop revenue declined 24%.

There have, however, been other hints that things are looking up in the PC market. Earlier this year

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

CEO Paul Otellini stated that the PC market

bottomed out

during the first quarter, and is returning to normal seasonal patterns.

Despite the possibility of a looming rebound in PC sales, Dell's stock fell 49 cents (3.66%) to $12.90 Monday, reflecting the broader decline in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq fall 2.73%.