Struggling Dell (DELL) provided a glimpse into just how difficult its turnaround will be, reporting disappointing fourth-quarter results that include its first quarterly sales decline in five years. Adding to the uncertainty surrounding the world's second-largest PC seller, the company didn't shed any light on months-long investigations by the Securities & Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York into certain accounting matters, as some analysts had been expecting. Dell is conducting its own internal investigation.
Investors will likely have to wait many months for any financial improvement. In a press release, Dell says that "in the next several quarters, the company expects that growth and margins will continue to be under pressure as it implements and refines" its strategies. "That implies that Wall Street's current expectation of things improving soon might be optimistic," says Brent Bracelin, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities.