Dell's Stock Rises But Prices May Fall

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Dell didn't exactly have a blowout third fiscal quarter, but its executives were bullish enough in talking about those results to inject some steam into the stock market.

Smith Barney analysts, in a research note to investors (registration required), points to one area, in particular, that could impact the channel:

Given Dell's lack of channel inventory, acceleration in component price declines widens the company's cost advantage versus indirect competitors
like Hewlett-Packard by 5-7%.

That will take some watching. Pricing has already been soft in some areas (thanks in part to Intel's efforts at working down an oversupply of its inventory). And, despite the softness so far, an early look at numbers being gathered by CRN Research for October (check back with CRN next week for the details) shows Dell may have had some difficulty holding onto channel market share in desktops and servers.

While Dell continues to spell out many details of its successes, it continues to be vague about its services business, though. The Round Rock company says it grew revenue from its "enhanced services business" by 32 percent, year over year, in its most recent quarter. But it doesn't say how profitable that business was. The company typically engages resellers and solution providers to deliver much of those services - just how much it doesn't specify.

In the meantime, investors seem to like what they see and hear out of Dell so far.

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