Los Angeles Times: Dell results fall short of expectations

Dell Inc.'s fiscal fourth-quarter profit dropped 6.4%, falling short of Wall Street expectations, and the personal computer maker warned that more cautious spending by customers and higher costs could hurt its business.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company said it earned $679 million, or 31 cents a share, in the quarter ended Feb. 1, down from $726 million, or 32 cents, in the same period a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had predicted profit of 36 cents a share.

Dell built its business by selling computers directly to companies and consumers, but has started selling through retailers including Best Buy Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

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