updated 1/18/2007 9:37:46 AM ET 2007-01-18T14:37:46

Hewlett-Packard extended its lead over Dell in the worldwide personal-computer market in the fourth quarter.

The analysis from Gartner Incorporated of Framingham finds Hewlett-Packard managed to outgrow the rest of the market and lead the worldwide tally of PC sales for the second quarter in a row.

The technology research firm says overall PC sales increased seven-point-four percent in the fourth quarter, but dropped in the U.S. for the second quarter in a row.

The culprit appears to be heavy competition from flat-panel televisions and other consumer electronics over the holiday season. For all of 2006, PC sales rose around nine percent to roughly 230 million.

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