Dell stock pulls back after forecast suggests record sales decline will continue

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Dell Technologies Inc.’s revenue plunged in the fiscal first quarter by the largest percentage on record for the company, and executives expect a similar drop in the current quarter.

On Thursday, Dell
DELL,
+1.45%

reported first-quarter earnings of $578 million, or 79 cents a share, on sales of $20.9 billion, down nearly 20% from $26.12 billion a year ago. Dell had not reported a sales decline higher than 13.9% since returning to the public markets in 2016, according to FactSet records.

After adjusting for stock compensation and other expenses, the company reported earnings of $1.31 a share, down nearly 29% from $1.84 a year ago. Analysts on average expected adjusted earnings of 86 cents a share on sales of $20.12 billion, according to FactSet.

Dell’s shares were halted from trading ahead of the release of the results, which occurred during the regular trading session instead of after the bell, as was expected. When they resumed trading, shares jumped from a 1.2% advance on the day to gains of more than 4%. A Dell spokesperson said that results were released early due to a media organization breaking an embargo on the information.

Shares fell back to a 1.8% gain at the close, then dove 2.9% in after-hours trading, following a conference call that included executives predicting that Dell could see a similar sales decline in the current quarter. Yvonne McGill, who is being elevated to the chief financial officer position for Dell, guided for revenue of $20.2 billion to $21.2 billion while analysts on average were looking for $21.19 billion, and said that profitability would be affected by potential pricing actions.

“With inventories normalizing across the supply chain, we expect a more competitive pricing environment,” she said. “Given Q1 profitability, combined with more muted sequential component cost deflation, we expect gross margin rates to be down roughly 50 basis points sequentially.”

PC shipments have suffered their worst year-over-year declines in history for three consecutive quarters, according to third-party analyses, as a pandemic-era jump in sales petered out. Dell’s PC segment, known as the Client Solutions Group, reported quarterly revenue of $11.98 billion, down from $15.59 billion a year ago but ahead of the $11.41 billion analysts on average expected.

Dell’s stock has declined 7.1% in the past year, as the S&P 500 index
SPX,
+0.99%

has gained 1.9%.

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