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Dell Sets Growth Targets

Dell Inc. (DELL) reiterates first-quarter guidance of 37 cents earnings per share on revenue of about $13.4 billion and plans to grow from $49 billion to $80 billion in annual sales. The personal computer manufacturer increases its share buyback to $2 billion. S&P reiterates strong buy.

Alcoa (AA) posted 31 cents, vs. 40 cents first-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations as higher energy costs offset a 13% sales rise.

Merck & Co. (MRK) says Gardasil, an investigational vaccine against HPV (Human Papillomavirus), significantly reduced infection and disease in a Phase II clinical study.

Citigroup reportedly downgrades General Motors (GM) to sell from hold. The bank also cuts Ford (F) to hold from buy.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) posted 59 cents, vs. 47 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on 5.1% higher same-store sales and 13% higher total sales.

Starbucks (SBUX) posted 6% March same-store sales rise, and a 22% net sales rise.

Men's Wearhouse (MW) posted 15% higher March U.S. same-store sales and 18% higher total sales. Based on better-than-expected sales, the men's clothing retailer now expects to exceed the upper end of its previous first-quarter guidance.

Callaway Golf (ELY) sees 26 cents to 29 cents first-quarter earnings per share, including integration charges, on sales of about $300 million.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) posted 21 cents, vs. 53 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share on an 11% same-store sales drop, and 5.3% lower total sales. The specialty retailer posted 18% lower March same-store sales and says March sales are disappointing. It sees first-quarter same-store sales down 8% to 12% and a 3-cent to 10-cent loss.

Identix Inc. (IDNX) was awarded a contract valued in excess of $8 million from the Los Angeles County Regional Identification System (LACRIS).

Aeropostale Inc. (ARO) posted 6.8% higher March same-store sales, and 29% higher total sales.

West Marine (WMAR) posted 6.6% lower first-quarter same-store sales, and 2.8% lower total sales. The company says the start of boating season activity was delayed due to cold, wet, winter-like weather in March. It seees a 26-cent to 27-cent first-quarter loss.

Limited Brands (LTD) posted 7% lower March same-store sales, and 2.2% lower total sales.

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