MSFT - Microsoft Corporation

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real Time Price. Currency in USD
123.68
+0.31 (+0.25%)
As of 2:25PM EDT. Market open.
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close123.37
Open122.62
Bid123.57 x 2200
Ask123.58 x 4000
Day's Range122.61 - 124.00
52 Week Range90.28 - 124.00
Volume9,828,813
Avg. Volume25,756,975
Market Cap948.861B
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.01
PE Ratio (TTM)28.69
EPS (TTM)4.31
Earnings DateApr 24, 2019
Forward Dividend & Yield1.84 (1.56%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-05-15
1y Target Est129.25
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
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But with Cisco stock up 25%+ since then, the concern is that even that bull case now is priced in.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 5 Dividend Stocks Perfect for Retirees The Cisco Stock RallyFrom a broad standpoint, there are four key drivers of the big gains in Cisco stock. First, the company's Catalyst 9000 switches have launched well, driving double-digit revenue increases. For a company that has struggled to increase sales (fiscal 2018 revenue was basically equal to FY16 levels) the new product is welcome, to say the least.Second, Cisco is adding more software to its legacy hardware products, including the Catalyst switches. That shift improves margins and adds the recurring revenue tech investors seek these days. It also allows Cisco to continue to monetize its hardware after installation, instead of receiving just a one-time sale.Third, the company continues to move into security. Like more focused players like Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW), here, too, Cisco has built out its software offering instead of focusing on just hardware. Cisco has integrated its SD-WAN products with cloud-based software, which drove double-digit growth in the second quarter.Finally, 5G is on the way, and that represents a real profit driver going forward. The adoption of that technology should help revenue, but Cisco already is investing in its development at the moment, meaning incremental costs should be lower.Obviously, there are other factors at play; this is a company that generates revenue of roughly $50 billion a year. These areas are where Cisco has an edge and an opportunity to accelerate revenue growth. Smaller rival Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) hasn't had the same success, and while CSCO stock has soared, JNPR has been flat for basically four years now. Cisco's moves explain much of the outperformance of its stock. The Concerns with CSCO StockIn sum, the moves make Cisco sound a bit like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) earlier this decade. Microsoft had similar growth questions, and relied on a legacy market (personal computers) that seemed to have little room for growth.Then new businesses like its Azure cloud platform, a go-to-market change for Office and Windows, and smaller efforts in gaming and hardware have dramatically changed the story. MSFT has more than quadrupled since 2013, thanks to earnings growth and multiple expansion.That said, there are two concerns here. The first is whether the Microsoft model actually is in play here. While there are growth opportunities going forward (perhaps most notably in 5G) the legacy business still is flat, if not shrinking. Security was just 6% of revenue in fiscal 2018, according to figures from the 10-K. Cisco itself is guiding for just 4-6% revenue growth in the third quarter.Growth might be improving, but it's not exactly torrid and certainly not yet. Meanwhile, Cisco stock's big rise has notably changed its valuation. As recently as last year, CSCO was pricing in basically zero growth.Now, Cisco stock trades at over 18x FY19 consensus EPS. Even with the Street projecting 10% growth in FY20, that's not a hugely attractive multiple. It suggests, at the least, that Cisco's recent success will continue for years to come. And it's worth noting that Cisco stock now has outrun the average analyst target.To be sure, that doesn't mean CSCO's run is definitely over or that the stock is a sell. Strong Q3 earnings, likely due next month, can lead those estimates and price targets up. The advent of 5G probably starts contributing next year, and its growth won't end any time soon.Still, the upside looks thinner, and Cisco really can't stumble back at a high-teen P/E multiple. Investors sticking with CSCO at this price had better be sure the transformation will continue.As of this writing, Vince Martin has no positions in any securities mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 5 Dividend Stocks Perfect for Retirees * 7 Reasons the Stock Market Rally Isn't Over Yet * 10 S&P 500 Stocks to Weather the Earnings Storm Compare Brokers The post After an Impressive Run, Cisco Stock Is Starting to Cool Off appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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