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Citigroup Downgrades Dell to 'In-line'

Dell Computer (DELL) reported first-quarter EPS of 23 cents, and said it sees EPS of 24 cents in the second quarter. Citigroup downgraded the shares to in-line.

Analyst Richard Gardner says the downgrade is based on valuation. He notes first-quarter results and second-quarter guidance were in line with estimates. He finds the stock rich at current levels compared with his long term EPS growth estimates, and sees limited near term upside. He notes the company characterized demand as stable but cited no signs of a cyclical pick-up -- the company apparently didn't see an acceleration in April demand cited by other technology bellwethers.

Following the company's in-line second-quarter guidance of 24-cents EPS on $9.7 billion to $9.8 billion in revenues, Gardner keeps his $1.04 fiscal year 2004 (January) EPS and $1.22 fiscal year 2005 EPS estimates. He has a $32 price target on the stock.

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