Post Apple Earnings: Which Computer Stocks have the Strongest Earnings Trends?

Earnings trends are extremely important when evaluating stocks. At Wall St. Cheat Sheet, we view increasing earnings quarter-over-quarter as a simple way to gauge whether costs and the business model are stable. Then we like to analyze whether the company is outperforming peers in the sector. This is what we call the “E-Squared” investment analysis (‘E = Earnings Are Increasing Quarter-Over-Quarter’ + ‘E = Excellent Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector’).

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Here’s your Cheat Sheet to how the top 4 computer stocks rank via earnings trends:

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL): Current Price $13.07

Fiscal Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Revenue ($) in millions 61,130 61,100 52,900 61,490 62,070
Diluted EPS ($) 1.31 1.25 0.73 1.35 1.88

Dell is not doing much in the way of growing its revenue, which has remained essentially flat over the five year span we see here. However, EPS has shown a rising trend from 2010 through 2012.

Next, our CHEAT SHEET investing framework asks us to drill down to the recent quarterly data:

Quarter Oct. 31, 2011 Jan. 31, 2012 Apr. 30, 2012 Jul. 31, 2012 Oct. 31, 2012
Revenue ($) in millions 15,360 16,030 14,420 14,480 13,720
Diluted EPS ($) 0.49 0.42 0.36 0.42 0.27

On its quarterly results, Dell is facing falling sales and erratic EPS. In the latest quarter, EPS is the lowest among all the five quarters reviewed here. Dell does not quite make the grade…