There are a number of angles to consider when evaluating today's earnings warning from Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection Dell
I could focus on the fact that analysts were expecting $0.32 per share and that Dell is now forecasting $0.21 to $0.23. I could also pull in the fact that Dell earned $0.41 per share in its second quarter in 2005, the short-term and long-term give and take that is going on with Hewlett-Packard
Just for fun, I could also discuss the nonsense headlines that are out there today, such as "Dell Warning Hits Stocks," and "Stocks Decked by Dell's Profit Warning." I have to admit it would be fun to look at the lack of logic or proof that Dell's warning would weigh on a company such as Healthcare Services Group, but I am far more interested in the fact that Dell provided any guidance at all.
Just two months ago, on its first-quarter earnings conference call, Dell suspended earnings guidance. I thought it was a good move. I like receiving quarterly updates on my holdings and details on business performance, but I find the whole beat-by-a-penny-missed-by-a-penny schtick to be very tiring and entirely non-productive. I have always imagined that company executives who care about the long-term health of their business have similar feelings. Dell should have goals and targets, but there's a lot to be said for keeping those goals internal to the company and making them long-term in nature. If nothing else, today's press release conveys that it's not so easy to quickly end an established practice.
The guidance itself is disappointing. I see no other way to interpret it. However, I must admit I'm far more interested in seeing how the company's cash flow is holding up and its return on invested capital. I suspect both will have dipped, but at $19.50 a share and with a three-to-five-year horizon, I suspect Dell's business will recover and that the company will beat the market. That is by no means a sure thing, but I believe it is more likely than Dell's business being permanently impaired, which is what today's share price indicates.