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Cisco Beats, As Expected

Mark Vickery

While no one is saying Big Tech is back on Easy Street these days, Cisco Systems (CSCO) managed to notch its 19th straight positive earnings surprise after the bell Wednesday, with EPS of 46 cents. True, this was just a penny better than the expected 45 cents per share, but I'm sure John Chambers & Co. will take it.

That Cisco was able to post a 2% beat is not extraordinary in and of itself, but considering that Cisco rival Juniper Networks (JNPR) earlier this week said the Enterprise market was "challenging," we'd have to think Cisco shareholders are pleased with the results. Cisco -- which had remained overall pretty flat during regular trading Wednesday -- is up pretty big in the after-market: more that 6% higher at this time.

Ahead of the earnings report, analysts have been moderately negative on Cisco: of the 10 estimates for the company's fiscal 3rd quater 2013, 5 of them had been revised downward over the past 90 days, with no upward revisions. This, more than any single reason, is responsible for Cisco carrying a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) before the earnings announcement.

As such, based on the earnings beat, we would suggest an uptick in Cisco's Zacks Rank may be forthcoming.

Though analysts were consistent in their slightly downward outlook, they hadn't really moved the needle in terms of magnitude of the revisions. Cisco shares were expected to generate 45 cents per share two months ago, as well.

Investing in new products, retaining the ability to increase its dividend yield when deemed necessary and keping a mindful eye on margins going forward are some of the keys to Cisco's success, looking forward. Increasing strength in data center, switching and wireless businesses will help maintain company strength. Higher costs for new products last quarter might finally bear fruit in the coming quarters.

We may not see CSCO shares peak up near $8o per share again for awhile, but if Cisco can keeps its eye on the ball, perhaps we may see a nice run over time. We'll have more on Cisco's earnings tomorrow morning.

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