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Byline: John Pletz
Oct. 4--As it welcomes influential Wall Street analysts to town today for an important two-day meeting, Dell Computer Corp. finds itself in unfamiliar territory.
The stock of the Round Rock-based computer giant, which was the gold standard of the tech-dominated 1990s, has been in a two-year funk. Shares of Dell hit a new 52-week low of $28.56 on Tuesday, which is about where it was two years ago.
Dell once set the benchmark for Wall Street performance, but the company has struggled to meet forecasts for either sales or profits in three of the past four quarters.
Dell meets with analysts twice each year to brief them on its near- and long-term plans for growth. If analysts like what Dell has to say, the stock could get a lift. If not, the price could continue to languish.
Either way, the company clearly has a sales job to do -- and that itself is a change. Complicating things for Dell is that the computer industry is in a slump following Intel Corp. and Apple Computer Inc.'s warnings that the third …