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Citigroup Downgrades Dell

Citigroup downgrades Dell (DELL) to hold from buy.

Analyst Richard Gardner says revenue of $13.4 billion was just slightly below guidance of $13.5 billion, and earnings per share of 37 cents were a penny above consensus due to a year-end tax adjustment.

He notes management cited strong business demand throughout the quarter, but "notably weaker-than-expected" consumer demand in January. He maintains his $1.60 fiscal 2006 (ending January) earnings per share estimate and shaves $1.88 fiscal 2007 to $1.87.

Gardner thinks there is a limited upside potential to operating profit. Based on 24 times his $1.87 fiscal 2007 earnings per share estimate, and his new 12-month target is $45. With just about 8% upside to target, he downgrades to hold.

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