Dell Finds ‘Evidence of Misconduct’

Dell shares fell in late trading Thursday after the company once again delayed its annual report because of growing accounting concerns.

Dell said its Audit Committee has identified “a number of accounting errors, evidence of misconduct, and deficiencies in the financial control environment,” but the company did not detail the findings.

The committee is working with company management and auditors to determine if the accounting errors “necessitate any restatements of prior period financial statements, and to assess whether the control deficiencies constitute a material weakness in Dell’s internal control over financial reporting,” Dell said.

“As we move toward the conclusion of our investigation, we are committing the time and resources required to ensure a thorough and comprehensive review and resolution of all identified issues and the implementation of appropriate remedial measures,” Thomas Luce III, chair of Dell’s Audit Committee, said in a statement.

The report for the fiscal year ended Feb. 2 was initially due April 3, then extended to April 18. Dell did not provide a new date for the filing.

Dell shares lost 4% in after-hours trading on news of the company’s growing accounting troubles, which came on top of a sales slump that led to Michael Dell returning to the company’s CEO post in late January.

Also in late trading, Red Hat fell 3% on its quarterly results.

Stocks posted modest gains during the day, as news of better than expected fourth-quarter economic growth was trumped by rising oil prices and Mideast tensions.

BCE , parent of Bell Canada, gained on takeover speculation.

RF Micro , ATMI , Multi-Fineline and CDC fell on their earnings news.

Super Micro Computer had a solid IPO showing.

The Nasdaq added 1 to 2417, the S&P 500 rose 5 to 1422, and the Dow gained 48 to 12,348. Volume declined to 2.85 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.01 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancing issues led by a 20-12 margin on the NYSE, and 15-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 61% on the NYSE, and 42% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 148-25 on the NYSE, and 89-72 on the Nasdaq.

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