The WSJ’s „Heard on the Street” column discusses Dell (DELL), saying that it now appears that Dell has chosen to give up its focus on mkt share in favor of profits. Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner, who has a Buy rating on the stock, noted that Dell's PCs are selling at higher-than-expected avg sale prices over the past qrtr and raised his tgt price for the stock to $27. "The first thing you have to fix is the level of profitability. Unprofitable growth for the sake of growth is really not a good strategy," says Marty Shagrin, of Victory Capital Mgmt. Victory, with $61bn under mgmt, held about 10m Dell shares as of the end of Sep. Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford C. Bernstein adds, "A lot of investors were flabbergasted at how weak Dell's margins were last quarter, so if margins do improve, it will provide some investors with comfort that was the bottom." Mr. Sacconaghi rates the co as Outperform.
According to the Barron’s Online, some recent bad news about investing in one of Canada's sweetest energy plays, royalty trusts, should make the other E&P co’s in the Great White North look more attractive. Among the attractive large, Canadian E&Ps are Suncor Energy (SU) and EnCana (ECA). Even if oil prices rise, offsetting the higher taxes on trusts, "investors would still be better off at the margin in a conventional E&P that would be able to enjoy the higher cash flows," writes Merrill Lynch analyst Andrew Fairbanks. And oil and gas trust stocks are likely to continue their decline, Fairbanks says.
“Inside Scoop” section reports that Blum Capital sold 3m shares of ITT Educational Services (ESI). The transaction cut Blum's total stake in the co to 3.88m shares, or a 9.3% stake, from the 6.83m shares, or 16.8% stake.