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Michael Dell tries to give stock a lift

Dell Computer's CEO buys more than 4 million of his company's shares for about $72 million to boost the stock after last month's terrorist attacks, a filing says.

Dell Computer Chief Executive Michael Dell bought more than 4 million shares of the company for about $72 million after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in an effort to prop up the stock.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Tuesday, Dell bought a combined 4.3 million shares in four separate purchases. On Sept. 20, Dell bought 1.15 million shares and followed up by buying 2.75 million shares on Sept. 21 in two transactions. On Sept. 27, Dell bought 400,000 shares. The average price for the purchases was $16.72, a touch above Dell's 52-week low.

The stock markets reopened Sept. 17 after being closed because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In an attempt to help the markets, the SEC issued an emergency order easing rules on corporate and insider purchases.

After the SEC eased its restrictions, a host of companies announced stock buyback plans, but the effect of those repurchases is hard to track. The stock markets fell sharply the week of Sept. 17.

Dell, who founded the PC maker in 1984, owns more than 300 million shares, but has been mostly selling shares in 2001. On Sept. 4, however, he bought a combined 4.16 million shares in three transactions with an average purchase price of $2.63.