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Earnings roundup

Troy Matsumura reads in a Borders in Portland. The chain reported third-quarter loss of $39.1 million.

Troy Matsumura reads in a Borders in Portland. The chain reported third-quarter loss of $39.1 million.

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

Several companies reported quarterly financial results on Tuesday.


Dell Inc. beat analysts' expectations in delayed earnings posted Tuesday, but the computer maker warned the results were preliminary and could change due to an intensifying federal investigation into the company's accounting and financial reporting.

For the quarter ended Nov. 3, Dell earned $677 million, or 30 cents per share, on revenue of $14.4 billion. That compared with earnings of $606 million, or 25 cents per share, in the third quarter of last year, which was hurt by $442 million in charges Dell took to repair a faulty computer component and costs related to restructuring.

Analysts, on average, had been looking for third-quarter earnings of 24 cents per share on sales of $14.44 billion, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

The report was filed six days later than expected and comes amid a formal investigation of the Round Rock, Texas-based company by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Dell was expected to file the earnings report Thursday but postponed it because of the "level of complexity the company is facing in the preparation of its preliminary results."

The company said the delay was unrelated to a widening federal investigation it mentioned in the same news release.

That investigation began as an informal SEC probe in August into unspecified accounting issues. At the time, Dell said it did not believe the investigation would affect earnings. Tuesday's report wasn't followed by the usual post-earnings conference calls, where reporters and analysts can directly question founder Michael Dell and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Rollins.


Bookstore operator Borders Group Inc. said its third-quarter loss widened as same-store sales edged down.

Its loss for the quarter ended Oct. 28 totaled $39.1 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with a loss of $14.1 million, or 20 cents per share, during the same period last year, the company said after the close of regular trading on Wall Street.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $860.4 million from $845.8 million last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected a loss of 64 cents on revenue of $838.9 million.


Farm equipment maker Deere & Co. posted fourth-quarter profits that rose 19 percent as higher prices offset sluggish sales.

The Moline-based company said higher prices and low warranty costs helped overcome flat sales for the quarter that ended Oct. 31. Net income rose to $277.3 million, or $1.20 per share, up from $232.8 million, or 96 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Revenue grew 3 percent to $5.12 billion from $4.99 billion during the same period a year ago. Analysts expected revenue of $4.79 billion.

Avis Budget

Avis Budget Group Inc. posted a $1.01 billion loss for the third quarter as the car rental company incurred substantial charges related to the breakup of its parent, the former conglomerate Cendant.

The company, based in Parsippany, N.J., posted a loss of $10.07 per share for the three months ended Sept. 30 compared with year-ago earnings of $499 million, or $4.72 per share. The loss from continuing operations totaled $325 million versus earnings of $3 million a year earlier.

Revenue edged up to $1.57 billion from $1.55 billion a year ago. During the quarter, domestic car rental revenue rose 2 percent to $1.19 billion, while international car rental revenue jumped 16 percent to $222 million. A 17 percent decline in revenue from its truck rental segment partially offset the gains.

Total expenses increased by 32 percent to $2.03 billion largely due to the $480 million cost of breaking up its conglomerate businesses. Earlier this year, Cendant spun off real estate brokerage Realogy Corp., hotel operator Wyndham Worldwide Corp. and travel business Travelport. Its primary operation became Avis.