Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) reported its second fiscal quarter earnings with results slightly edging Wall Street estimates but offering weak guidance. Although Cisco's stock has gained 5% during the last 12 months, that is still significantly lower than the 22% gain of the S&P 500. The reason for that may be the hesitation in customer spending due to macroeconomic uncertainty. Analysts are not seeing anything wrong here, and they are feeling positive about Cisco's coming quarters.
Last Quarter Results
Revenues were $12.01 billion compared to $11.98 billion which was expected by analysts. However, that is still down 4% from last year. This had an effect on shares, so their price went down 6.4% to $46.72 at 11:03 a.m. Thursday. The stock gained 1.6% on Wednesday. Earning were 77 cents per share, excluding certain items, compared to 76 cents per shared, in line with analysts' expectations. Cisco's two main business segments achieved both 8% lower revenues over the year (Infrastructure Platforms $6.5 billion and Applications 1.3 billion).
For Cisco's fiscal second quarter revenues, guidance range did see a decrease between 3% and 5%, so achieved 4% decrease came right in the center. Similar applies to adjusted earnings per share – guidance range was 75-77 cents: analysts expected 76 cents whereas Cisco achieved 77 cents per share. If we break it down for a more detailed view, we can see that revenue from products fell 6%, while revenue from services rose 5%.
Having in mind that Cisco is a significant player in the networking-hardware industry, increase of service revenues is a good sign of adjustment and positioning in the cloud environment. And on the bright side, since services were up, gross margin was also up to 64.7%, while it was 62.5% in previous year.
Cisco In Cloud
Cisco is positioned as the dominant player in the data center switch market. But the whole data center switch market suffers from slow or zero growth due to many enterprises and customers deciding to turn to cloud providers, so they can avoid associated infrastructure, management, and technical concerns. Cisco's strategy lies in Cisco cloud providers, which are offering enterprise customers unique cloud solutions, whether the solution is public, private, hybrid, consuming services, or integrating multiple clouds together.
Then again, the two largest players, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) are setting the bar quite high above clouds when it comes to this market. And the cloud war between the two is far from over as Amazon just managed to prolong the JEDI saga by having a judge suspend the contract from moving forward until the lawsuit is resolved. There's no doubt that Amazon's AWS is the leading cloud provider, but Pentagon saw more potential in Microsoft which is posting beyond strong growth in the recent quarters. So the JEDI wars are far from over!
As for the expected results for the quarter ending in April, revenue decrease is expected to be continued for 1.5% to 3.5% compared to the year earlier. So, expected revenue should be within the range of $12.5 billion to $12.8 billion. Decrease is due to fact that orders were down with EMEA down 1% as it was mainly affected by a higher decrease in the U.K. public sector due to Brexit and the America segment down 8% while U.S. has a slightly smaller drop. In total, this is still an increase compared to the latest quarter (second fiscal quarter). Similar applies to profits as Cisco expects 79-81 cents a share on an adjusted basis. Quarterly non-GAAP gross margin is expected within a range 64.5%-65.5%.
As for the scary Coronavirus, Cisco's CFO Kelly Kramer said that the possible impact of the outbreak was not really taken into account while deriving the guidance figures. Considering that Cisco relies on manufacturers located in China, there could be something to fear.
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