Dell Surges as Executives Stand By Forecast

Dell Computer (Nasdaq: DELL) rose US$2.25 to $24.44 inmorning trading Thursday after the computer maker reaffirmed its outlook forthe first quarter ending May 4th.

The company said that advantages in the way it does business, together with “lean management” of operating costs, “continue to produce exceptional customervalue and industry-leading growth and financial performance,” even in atough market.

“The company believes it is profitably gaining market share, and canoutperform the overall computer-systems industry in the period,” Dell said,sticking to its forecast of $8 billion in revenue and 17 cents per share inearnings for the quarter.

However, the company cautioned that “more than four weeks remain in the quarter, and the market is still unpredictable.”

Despite the optimism, company executives at ameeting in New York declined to make predictions for the remainder of theyear, citing the cloudy outlook for the world economy and the computerindustry.

“Current softness in industry demand and profit margins is not a secret,”said chief executive officer Michael Dell. “But in this environment, thedifferences between Dell and other major companies are compelling. The products and services we offer are in high demand, our costs are thelowest in the industry, and we’re passing rapid component cost declines tocustomers faster than any company.”

Dell said it has shifted its research and development focus to enterpriseproducts and services. Shipments of Dell PowerEdge servers are growing atmore than three times the industry rate, the company said.

“Customers are best able to determine what products are relevant and delivermeaningful value, even as some in our industry continue to advocate moreexpensive proprietary platforms,” said CEO Dell. “That’s why relativespending on Windows- and Linux-based servers and storage products isexpanding quickly, and on proprietary systems has been flat and may bedeclining.”

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