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Byline: John Pletz
Oct. 6--Its once-high-flying confidence sagging with its stock price, Dell Computer Corp. retreated to what it knew best Thursday morning in an anticlimactic finish to a two-day meeting with Wall Street analysts.
Company executives, who the night before had deflated Wall Street's expectations with a warning that the second half of the year would be weaker than forecast, mustered a simple message in an effort to save credibility. They stressed the efficiency of Dell's much-vaunted, often-imitated model of selling products directly to customers.
Still, Dell's stock plunged nearly 10.7 percent to $25.19 Thursday, reflecting a mood …