Dell Slips on Soft Consumer Spending

Dell topped earnings estimates after the close on Thursday, but the stock slipped in after-hours trading after the company lowered revenue guidance.

Dell’s pro forma earnings of 37 cents a share beat analyst estimates by a penny, and revenues of $13.5 billion matched forecasts.

But Dell’s forward guidance was mixed. The company predicted first-quarter earnings of 37 cents a share, a penny ahead of estimates, but revenues of $13.4 billion would come in below $13.5 billion expectations.

Dell posted strong server and storage sales in the fourth quarter, with a 19-20% year-over-year rise in business sales. The company said it is on target to hit $60 billion in sales this year, and said it is targeting $80 billion in annual sales soon after.

But the company cited “softness in the consumer market” as one obstacle it is facing. Shares of Dell fell 3% in after-hours trading.

Blue chips posted strong gains during the day on a lower trade deficit and jobless claims, along with class-action legislation approved by the Senate, but techs lagged once again.

The Nasdaq was up half a point to 2053, the S&P 500 added 5 to 1197, and the Dow surged 85 to 10,749. Volume rose to 1.51 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.1 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 18-14 on the NYSE, while decliners held a 16-14 edge on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 56% on the NYSE, and 43% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 207-19 on the NYSE, and 80-60 on the Nasdaq.

Ericsson fell 8% on lower than expected gross margins.

MCI slipped on reports of an informal buyout offer from Verizon .

August Tech surged on a buyout offer from KLA-Tencor .

United Online and Cognizant soared 17% each on their results, and Napster gained 4% on its earnings.

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