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Wednesday, February 17, 1999 Published at 08:09 GMT

Business: The Company File

Mixed verdicts for computer results

It can be hard making sense of how the markets react to company figures

Two US computer giants have delivered sets of results to the financial markets, with mixed results.

Although Dell Computers' figures were in line with expectations, this failed to impress analysts.

As a result, the company's shares fell to 78-3/4 in after hours trade on Instinet, down 10 from the close of 88-3/4.

Meanwhile, there was better news for US computer giant Hewlett Packard which delivered better earnings than had been expected.

The company reckons it is down to its increased efficiencies and tight cost controls.

The Californian-based Hewlett Packard said its first quarter earnings, ending on 31 January, rose to $960m from $929m last year.

The earnings were well above Wall Street's estimate, according to First Call, which tracks corporate earnings projections.

Dell's details

Dell's revenues rose 38% to $5.2bn from $3.7bn in the same quarter a year ago, down from the 50% annual growth seen in recent quarters.

Sales via Dell's Website topped $1bn in the quarter, or $14m a day.

The latest quarter's earnings matched the what the securities analysts had expected.

But revenues were short of many Wall Street projections for the quarter.

In addition, Dell said its board declared a 2-for-1 stock split, the seventh in the company's last seven years.

Following the report, Dell's stock tumbled more than $13.25 to $75.50 in after-hours trading from its regular session close of $88.75, continuing a slide begun two weeks ago when the technology stock stood at $110.

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