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Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 21:08 GMT 22:08 UK
Dell warns on sales
Dell computer factory
Dell says Europe is holding it back
Dell Computer has warned that its revenues may be hit by poor third quarter sales in Europe.

If sales remain weak in the fourth quarter, it could hit full-year revenues, the company said in a statement released after the market closed on Wednesday.

The warning follows last month's profit warnings from semi conductor company Intel and computer company Apple, which triggered a sharp sell off in technology shares.

Even with the weak sales in Europe, Dell is still on track to post a hefty increase on revenues from last year.

"If the softness persists into the fourth quarter, Dell's full-year revenue could be $32bn, an increase of about $7bn, or 27%, from sales for fiscal 2000," the company said.

It had previously said it expected sales to grow by 30% in this fiscal year.

The company said it was still on track to meet its profit expectations in the third quarter.

Oracle nerves

Similarly, shares in software giant Oracle were heavily sold after an analyst at Merrill Lynch questioned the share's high price on Tuesday.

But shares in Oracle bounced back from early lows to close down $1.37 at $68.12, helped by reassurances from the company that it was still on track to meet its targets for this year.

"There has been no change in the outlook for Oracle's financial results in the current fiscal quarter and its full fiscal year," Oracle chief financial officer, Jeff Henley said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr Henley added that the coming year is going to be a "terrific year".

Too successful?

The sell- off in Oracle shares can in part be attributed to its success. Many analysts are unclear where the company can go from here.

"Although we recognise Oracle as one of the pre-eminent names in the software space and a technology bellwether, it is difficult to make an argument for the stock to move meaningfully higher over the near term, in our opinion," Eric Upin, an analyst at Robertson Stephens wrote in a note to clients.

"[Oracle] is not immune to the general deterioration in market psychology," Merrill Lynch analyst Chris Shilakes said.

Oracle reported net profits of $501m for the three months to 31 August, more than double the amount reported for the same period last year.

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