Dell boosts first-quarter sales forecast

Says sales were strong outside the US in all product areas

Citing growth in markets outside the U.S., Dell raised its first-quarter sales forecast Wednesday and said it would significantly increase its stock repurchases.

The Round Rock, Texas-based PC maker now expects first quarter sales to be $11.4 billion, $200 million higher than the forecast it gave when it announced its fourth-quarter results in February. Dell's first quarter includes February, March and April. The company is scheduled to announce its earnings for the period on May 13.

Wall Street had been expecting Dell's first-quarter revenue to be $11.24 billion, according to a consensus estimate compiled by Thomson First Call.

Demand from outside the U.S. is driving Dell's higher revenue, the company said. All Dell products are selling well, but sales growth is strongest for servers, storage systems, professional services and printing and imaging, Dell said.

Dell did not change its first-quarter earnings forecast. Earnings per share are still expected to be $0.28, which would be up 22 percent from the year-ago period, the company said. The earnings forecast is in line with analyst expectations, according to Thomson First Call.

As a result of its strong operating results and cash generation, Dell will increase its stock buy-back activity, it said. The company plans to spend about $1.1 billion in the first quarter to repurchase Dell shares, up from a planned $600 million at the start of the quarter, the company said.