Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dell: a '90s market leader digests its prior gains

Happened to glance at the daily chart of DELL today. 

While I wouldn't be surprised if the stock caught a bit of a bounce into 2013 (once year-end tax loss selling is exhausted), I'm not exactly bullish on the longer-term picture for DELL. 

Here's why, from a purely technical (price) view. Backing up to the weekly chart, we see DELL approaching its early 2009 lows near the $7.85 - $9 levels. If it can hold above those lows and rebound higher after a dismal 2012, that would provide a cyclical respite from what has been an overall bearish trend since early 2000.  However, even a months-long rebound and a 50%-60% rise wouldn't negate the longer-term bearish trend. 




Zooming out to the monthly chart, we see the secular bullish trend that took DELL from an adjusted price of $0.09 in 1990 to a high of over $50 (a 600-fold increase) by the bull market peak of early 2000. 


During this nearly-unprecedented boom, DELL was a market leader among US stocks. The company reached a peak market cap. of $100 billion in March 2000 and its stock gained over 60,000 percent in the 10 years prior. 

After the dot-com bubble crashed in 2000-2001, the stock made a valiant effort to regain its old highs, climbing back to the low $40s in the bull move of 2004-2005. It was not enough, as the secular bear trend and an ever-changing tech environment continue to take their toll on DELL.  We can see the ensuing decline on the monthly chart above.

When I look at DELL's 23-year chart, I see a fallen leader slowly digesting the monster gains of a secular bull move. In fact, it reminds me of a python digesting a very large meal - lots of time and rest are required to complete the process. 

If you are squeamish, please don't click the python link. Nature, like the markets, can appear to be very cruel at times.

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