Dell 4Q profit edges down 6 percent, consumer PC strength can’t offset slow business spending

Dell Inc. says its net income fell 6 percent in the most recent quarter. Consumers snapped up low-cost laptops and smaller netbooks over the holidays. But businesses, which account for about half of Dell’s revenue, still haven’t markedly increased spending on new computers.

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From November through January, Dell says earnings slipped to $334 million, or 17 cents per share. That is down from $351 million, or 18 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue increased 11 percent to $14.9 billion.

Dell’s results roughly tracked Wednesday’s report from its larger competitor Hewlett-Packard Co., which said it sees corporate PC buying picking up in the second half of the year.

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