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Cisco(CSCO - Get Report) is another cash-rich tech company that's had some missteps in the past few years -- but like with Microsoft, that doesn't detract from the IP networking firm's core business. Cisco is the world's biggest supplier of computer networking hardware and software, a lucrative business that's continued to grow at breakneck pace during the recession as demand for data-hungry technologies like cloud computing continues to swell across the globe.
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That hugely successful enterprise business helps to offset the black eye that Cisco got from its consumer business. The firm shuttered its Flip video camera product line after taking losses, and it's since refocused its efforts on enterprise customers -- a good move given the volume of competitors who have moved into the space in the last several years. Because Cisco basically failed in the consumer market, its missteps were more conspicuous than most -- but here's another case of a bargain-priced company that investors are eschewing.
For starters, Cisco carries $48.7 billion in cash -- accounting for more than a quarter of the firm's market capitalization once its debt load is taken out. Even more significantly, CSCO generates more than $1.50 in free cash flows each year, paying for its near 3% dividend payout while leaving plenty of cash to put away.
Again, investors will need to keep a close eye on how management decides to deploy that cash, but a dividend hike would be a good start here too.
Cisco shows up on recent lists of
3 Sleeping Giants Ready to Bounce Higher and
5 Stocks Pointing to the Right Place at the Right Time.