It is time for the five remaining people who think that Dell
Dell, a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick, is the class of the business: It's all that and a side of slaw. Now, the question of course is whether this is the particular mountain that anyone would want to be king of. Is being the best company in the PC industry the equivalent of being "King Rat," the most influential prisoner in James Clavell's semi-biographic tale about the fetid Changi Prison from World War II? Is this the neighborhood you want to be in?
Here's what I love about Dell reports -- they have no problem grinding their stiletto heels into their competitors, noting for example that Dell's growth in sales in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa was 30%, "12 points higher than the average of other companies in the region." Yeah, take that, "other companies."
Of course, last year's comparables weren't exactly an enormous hurdle for Dell, as the summer quarter of 2003 was fairly soft, with more difficult comparisons coming in the fall. And Dell's sequential results showed some positive and some negative, including fairly tepid growth of 1.4% on the top line. I note that Dell continued to aggressively repurchase its own shares, deploying almost $900 million in the quarter to retire shares, $2 billion plus for the year. In the past, these repurchases have essentially served the purpose of masking the dilution from stock option grants -- thus far this year, though, the diluted share count is dropping. Also, Dell's accounts receivable continue to grow faster than revenues -- not a great trend.
There was some optimism that Dell's boffo quarter would help lift up the entire technology sector, if not the stock markets in general. Lousy results from Analog Devices
Bill Mann owns none of the shares mentioned in this story. David Gardner has recommended Dell for Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers. Want to see which other stocks made the cut? Sign up for six months, risk-free.