Dell Raises Earnings Expectations

Computer maker predicts Q2 sales will be $100 million higher than previously forecast.

Dell Computer Corp. on Thursday raised its earnings forecast for the second quarter, predicting sales would total $100 million higher than its earlier forecast, due largely to the companys growing market share amid otherwise weak sales.

Dells optimistic outlook for its current fiscal quarter, which ends Aug. 2, stands in contrast to recently lowered projections from other leading high-tech companies, including IBM, Apple Computer Inc., Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

After the markets closed Thursday, Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, issued a revised forecast calling for second-quarter revenue of $8.3 billion, up about 9 percent from last year, and earnings of 19 cents per share, excluding one-time charges, or 1 cent higher than previous projections. For the same quarter last year, Dell reported a 4-cent-per-share loss.

On May 16, Dell projected that revenue and earnings for its second quarter would total $8.2 billion and 18 cents per share, respectively.

Market analyst Andy Neff of Bear Stearns in New York speculated that the computer maker is profiting from lower PC component costs, such as declining memory prices, as well as picking up customers who have spurned Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. due to concerns over their merger in May.

"Dells benefiting from its direct model through component cost trends and industry turmoil," Neff said in a report issued late Thursday.

But the analyst said Dells good fortune shouldnt be seen as a sign that the battered high-tech industry is rebounding after a more than yearlong slump in sales.

"There doesnt appear to be a pickup in the market," Neff said, "given the feedback from competitors, including HP and Apple, and component vendors Intel and AMD."

Dell is scheduled to announce final results for the quarter on Aug. 15.