Dell Down on Costs

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Dell Inc. (DELL), the world's biggest personal computer maker, on Thursday said quarterly profit fell amid costs to cut jobs and repair faulty parts in business computers.

Net income for its fiscal third quarter ended October 28 fell to $606 million, or 25 cents per share, from $846 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said in a statement.

The company said it had about $442 million in one-time charges, including about $300 million for repairing faulty capacitors in business computers. It also paid for job cuts in Texas, the U.K. and Asia.

Dell also said last week said in a preliminary earnings report that profit before exceptional items was 39 cents per share on revenue of about $13.9 million, missing analysts' estimates for a second straight quarter.

Dell, whose direct-delivery model helped it grow faster than the overall PC market for years, has had decelerating revenue growth for six straight quarters as it aggressively cut prices and faced tougher competition from rivals including Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL).

Its shares have tumbled 31 percent this year on concern over revenue growth. The stock has lagged behind the Standard & Poor's Computer Hardware index by 27 percent. Dell shares trade at 16 times 2006 estimated earnings, about the same as Hewlett-Packard and below Apple's 29.