How's It Going For Dell and HP On Apple's Day? Don't Ask

by: Marek Fuchs

It's going to be a splashy day for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which means a miserable no-good one for Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Dell (DELL.) Those rusty old computer stocks were up like the dickens yesterday, as Mitt Romney might have put their move. For some odd reason (in large part, misguided excitement over the Windows 8 release) the stocks climbed 0.42% and 1.59% respectively. So far today, they're sliding more than 2% a piece, 'bettering' the broad market declines this morning.

But considering that today will center around the unveiling of the mini-iPad -- aka a walking, talking reminder of why PCs are in the dumps -- we recommend selling the wayward pair of PC makers on what will prove their fleeting strength.

Take your pick as to which one, but HP and Dell will be going back down. The market is ruled by traders with concentration spans that a susceptible to the news of the moment - and there will be no bigger news today than Apple's supremacy.

Thirty-three S&P companies report today, about one-quarter of the total, but all everyone will be talking about? Apple's new little gizmo and -- by inference and extension -- the demise of the PC.

That's doesn't bode well for HP and Dell holding yesterday's gains. Even Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), which also reports Tuesday, is a reminder of the bind that computer makers are in. It, like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) in its lame quarter, is struggling to come to terms with the advent of smaller mobile devices.

How bad has it been for HP? Don't ask.

The company recently stomped on any happy prospects for their future, cutting expectations for 2013 to absolute ribbons, from $4.17 to a range that stretched as low as $3.40.

They've had a rotating door of CEOs and comeback plans, all ineffective.

How's it going for Dell? That's a double don't ask.

Dell reported an 18% drop in earnings in the second quarter and said things will get only worse. That's not a chat room short talking; it's Dell.

Expectations were for more than $2.13 a share for 2013 to around $1.70. Dell doesn't report their third quarter until next month. Buying it before then - much less on strength - is tantamount to committing reckless endangerment on your portfolio.

Granted: Apple's smaller iPad will imperil Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) as well, but more so provide a reminder in bold relief that at this point, Hewlett Packard and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) might not even survive.

In the third quarter of 2012, Gartner, the research outfit, said that PC sales have declined 8%. A bit of this is due to the impending release of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 causing purchasing delays. But, obviously, PC sales are in freefall, as consumers prefer tablets and smartphone the size of tuning forks in lieu of cumbersome old desktops.

That today is all about those tablets - and tablets getting even smaller - is not good for Dell and HP, already obviously reeling.

Considering, yesterday's gain is, and will continue to be, today's loss.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.