Sunday, April 23, 2006

Two things

On the subject of this week's news that an analyst has slapped a "sell" rating on Dell computers for the first time in a decade, two things strike me.

Number 1, kudos to Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner. People say main street investors act like lemmings, but having monitored the buy and sell ratings from investment houses, I sometimes think it's the analysts who have the herd mentality. The cynic in me says it's their job, essentially, to encourage people to buy shares. Sometimes, I suspect that impulse trumps a lot of the fundamental analysis. At the end of the day, the amount of flak an analyst might take for taking a contrarian view on a stock just isn't worth the hassle to them. I have no idea if what Gardner is saying is correct. But I respect him for not drinking the corporate Kool-Aid and going against the flow. He's backed up his opinion with honest research, so right or wrong, I can admire his efforts.

Secondly, if this does pan out, and Dell shares drop to the low $20s, I for one would consider buying in. It's a market leader, an established company, it's got modest earnings growth and decent cash flow. I'd have to dig a little deeper into the numbers before taking the plunge, but on the surface, at $20 Dell sounds like a solid prospect for a budding value investor.

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