NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Cisco (CISCO), somewhat incredulously, was the headline-grabber for technology this week as investors welcomed the networking company's solid fiscal fourth-quarter results and surprise dividend increase.
The San Jose, Calif.-based company generated revenue of $11.7 billion, up from $11.2 billion in the same period last year, and greater than analysts' estimates of $11.6 billion. Excluding items, Cisco earned 47 cents a share, compared with 40 cents. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected 45 cents.
Cisco said it's boosting its quarterly cash dividend by an eye-popping 75%, to 14 cents a share from 8 cents."Cisco has the financial strength and flexibility to effectively invest in our business, pursue strategic opportunities, such as acquisitions, as well as return a minimum of 50% of our free cash flow annually through dividends and share repurchases to our shareholders," CFO Frank Calderoni said in a statement. Investors sent Cisco's stock soaring. The results also lifted shares of networking firms Riverbed (RVBD) and Alcatel-Lucent (ALU). Despite concerns about a weak global economy, Cisco struck a positive tone during the conference call to discuss the results. Boosted by its U.S. enterprise business, Cisco grew its Americas product orders 4% year over year, and it was three times that amount in Asia. Cisco CEO John Chambers told TheStreet that he wants to increase the company's enterprise business by emulating the service-provider sub-industry where Cisco has successfully shifted from selling standalone products to a broader mix of offerings. Another key area for Cisco is its data-center business. Although still a relatively small part of the company's overall sales, data-center revenue climbed 90%, helped by 58% growth in its UCS server product. Cisco's fourth-quarter revenue from the Americas jumped 7.3%, while Asia sales increased 7.9%. EMEA sales slipped 4.5% from a year earlier. Shares of Cisco closed ended the week up 8.7% at $19.06.
True to form, Apple (AAPL) was also in the news this week as the iPhone maker's shares hit a new all-time high during Friday trading. Apple's stock peaked at $648.19, surpassing the previous all-time high of $644 on April 10. Shares were lifted by Jefferies' decision to lift its Apple price target from $800 to $900, ahead of the eagerly anticipated launch of the new iPhone 5, and, potentially, an iPad Mini. Rumors also continued to swirl this week that the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm is in talks with U.S. cable operators about building a set-top box for live television. Apple shares rose 4.3% during the week to close at $648.11 on Friday.
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