Dell Disappoints Again

Dell followed its Halloween warning with another one late Thursday.

Dell reported quarterly earnings of 39 cents a share on sales of $13.9 billion — in line with the company’s lowered guidance of two weeks ago — but then the company lowered guidance again for the current quarter.

Dell said it expects January quarter earnings of 40 to 42 cents a share on sales of $14.6 billion to $15 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 44 cents a share and sales of $15.05 billion.

Still, the company seemed less worried about its numbers than analysts and investors. In an interview with CNBC after the results were released, Dell CEO Kevin Rollins said the company isn’t worried about increased competition from the likes of HP and Lenovo, and said the company is focusing not just on growth, but also on profitability and higher margins.

“Our competitive advantage is as good as it’s ever been,” Rollins told CNBC. “We’re ready to take on any competitor at any price point.”

He dismissed reports of a sub-$400 notebook from HP that is expected to be offered soon through Wal-Mart , saying Dell already offers a $399 notebook.

There were bright spots in Dell’s report, particularly in the higher-margin products the company is emphasizing. Storage sales grew 35%, for example, and server sales rose 16%. Services revenues grew 36% to $1.2 billion. Notebook sales, meanwhile, jumped 14% to $3.6 billion, while PC sales declined 2% to $5.1 billion.

In a statement, Rollins said Dell has made recent moves to further streamline several parts of its business.

“We’re always looking for better ways to improve the efficiencies of our business,” he said. “Customers in every major market of the world are significantly and increasingly choosing to do business directly with Dell, so we are able to make these changes from a position of strength. The changes will reduce complexity and cost, improve customer value and satisfaction, and encourage strong profitable growth in all products, segments and regions.”

Shares of Dell slipped 1% after hours.

The broader market soared during the day despite disappointing guidance from Cisco Systems , as traders keyed on falling bond yields and oil prices. A massive stock buyback and dividend hike from Intel also helped set the tone.

The Nasdaq surged 21 to 2196, the S&P 500 rose 10 to 1230, and the Dow gained 94 to 10,640. Volume rose to 2.38 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.97 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 19-13 on the NYSE, and 18-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 61% on the NYSE, and 61% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 136-157 on the NYSE, and 140-74 on the Nasdaq.

Cisco Systems fell 3.4% on a revenue warning.

Intel rose 1.8% on a $25 billion buyback plan and a quarterly dividend increase from 8 to 10 cents a share.

Avid fell 6% after delaying its results, and JDS Uniphase lost 4% on its results. Shanda slumped 10% on its numbers.

TOM Online jumped 10% on its earnings report.

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