Dell and HP fall

Dell Technologies Inc. and HP Inc. reported revenue and earnings that showed consumers and companies continue to buy personal computers even as pandemic lockdowns ease in some parts of the world. The strong results didn’t help the stocks, which declined in extended trading.

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said fiscal first-quarter sales rose 12% to $24.5 billion, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $23.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. HP reported revenue in its fiscal second quarter jumped 27% to $15.9 billion, also topping estimates by $1 billion. HP also raised its annual profit target.

Despite the positive numbers, some investors are betting that PC growth is peaking and won’t accelerate further, said Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross. Dell shares fell about 1% and HP dropped more than 6% in extended trading following Thursday’s earnings reports.

HP has experienced a surge in demand for laptops needed by people working and going to school remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, and those sales are persisting, Chief Executive Officer Enrique Lores said. The drag on the company’s performance is a continuing shortage of computer chips, which means HP can’t match supply to the demand for its products, Lores said. That situation will persist until the end of 2021.

Dell executives echoed the concern about chips, predicting component supply constraints will continue into next year. The company will price into its products the higher costs of memory chips and displays while watching the impact that may have on demand for computers, Chief Financial Officer Tom Sweet said.

“These are things we’re going to have to navigate through and they’ll be with us for a while,” he said in an interview. “In the long term we’re very optimistic about this space. If the pandemic did anything it accelerated customers thinking that they need to invest in technology.”

Revenue in the second quarter typically increases about 6% sequentially, but will likely fall short of that this year, Sweet predicted.

HP’s PC-related sales rose 27% in the three-month period, which ended April 30. Dell reported a 20% revenue increase at its laptop and desktop unit. Palo Alto, California-based HP said notebook sales surged 47% from the same period a year earlier.

HP’s printer business had suffered from weak demand in the lockdown as companies held off on purchases of gear not needed in empty offices. But printing and supplies revenue rebounded strongly in the quarter, helped by more companies reopening their offices and stocking up again. Margins were hurt by increasing costs, Chief Financial Officer Marie Myers said.

“We do expect revenue to be driven by available supply rather than demand,” Myers said. “Components and logistics costs are headwinds.”

While Dell Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell is trying to reduce the reliance of his company on one-time hardware sales in favor of subscription-based computer services, PC purchases still generate about half of revenue.

Sales from consumer PCs rose 42% to $3.5 billion in the quarter, the company said. That compares with a 19% expansion in the prior period. PC sales to business and government agencies were up 14% to $9.8 billion.

Server and networking sales rose 9% to $4.1 billion from a year earlier. Storage hardware revenue was $3.8 billion. Services revenue rose 10% in the quarter to $6.45 billion.

Sales from VMware Inc., which is majority-owned by Dell, were $3 billion, up 9%. In April Dell said it will spin off its stake in VMware, creating two publicly traded companies and raising cash to pay down debt.

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Dell and HP fall