In its fiscal third-quarter, Cisco was able to beat analysts' expectations, earnings 51 cents a share on $11.5 billion, as the company saw strength in the U.S. and in Europe, with CEO John Chambers noting there was "some stability in the north," and, "Even some stability in the south -- I think that they are out of this downturn, slowly improving." Gross margins in the third quarter were 62.7%, ahead of the company's forecast of range between 61% and 62%.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 48 cents a share on $11.36 billion.
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As the company deals with threats like software-defined networking, the company was able to keep cash flow from operations high, coming in at $3.2 billion, up from $2.9 billion in the second quarter and $3.1 billion in the year ago quarter.
The company's cash position is increasingly important to investors over the years as growth has slowed and Cisco boosts its total cash return to shareholders. During the quarter, Cisco's free cash flow was $3.2 billion, up from $2.6 billion in the company's fiscal second quarter.
For its fiscal fourth quarter, Cisco expects a year-over-year revenue decline of 1% to 3%, which came in better than analysts' estimates. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are expecting the San Jose-based Cisco to earn 53 cents a share on $12.14 billion in revenue.
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