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Dell profit falls, but beats estimate

Dell Inc, the world's No. 2 PC maker, narrowly beat analysts' expectations for sharply reduced profit on Thursday, even as the global downturn hit technology spending, helping its shares rise after hours.

Like larger rival Hewlett-Packard Co, which also reported lower quarterly profit last week, Dell is focusing on cutting costs in what it called a “challenging” environment.

The company said net income fell to $290 million, or 15 cents a share, in the fiscal first quarter ended May 1, from $784 million, or 38 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding certain one-time restructuring costs, the company posted a profit of 24 cents a share, just beating analysts' average estimate of 23 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue fell 23% from a year ago to $12.3 billion, versus Wall Street's estimate of $12.7 billion. Dell's global PC shipments fell nearly 17% in the first calendar quarter, according to data firm IDC.

Shares of Round Rock, Texas-based Dell rose 1.6% after hours after closing up 3.2% at $11.48 in regular Nasdaq trade.

Dell has been in cost-cutting mode for some time as it retools its operations to confront shrinking revenue, saying it will focus more on profitability than growth.

In February, Dell boosted its 2011 cost-reduction target to $4 billion from $3 billion. It cut its overall headcount by more than 9,000 jobs last fiscal year, ending with a total headcount of 78,900. It declined to give a new total for the end of the last quarter. (Reuters)