Publish date:

Cisco Stock Slides; Morgan Stanley Cuts to Equal Weight

Morgan Stanley downgraded Cisco, saying the telecom-equipment giant needs a 'stronger software growth trajectory.'

Cisco Systems  (CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report received price-target boosts from Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, but the communications-technology giant's stock fell after the Morgan Stanley analyst downgraded it to equal weight from overweight.

Shares of the San Jose, Calif., company at last check were down 1.6% to $57.77.

Cramer: Making the Case for Cisco

Morgan Stanley analyst Meta Marshall raised his price target to $59, up from $57.

Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers raised his price target on Cisco to $70 from $65, while affirming an overweight rating.

Cisco's multiple has expanded to a level nearer its historical discount to the S&P 500 Index, Marshall said in a research note. 

Marshall said he remains confident in the company's growth trajectory. But he says achieving his "bull case" requires a "stronger software growth trajectory," putting him on the sidelines heading into its upcoming analyst day, which is scheduled for Sept. 15.

TheStreet Recommends

Mehta says Cisco's multiple rerating is largely complete, making further appreciation dependent on higher earnings.

Stock Futures Lower: Delta Surge Concern Weighs, ECB Trims Bond Buy

Rakers at Wells Fargo said he saw the company's upcoming Investor Day as a positive catalyst. 

Cisco's incremental demand comments and the company's updated thoughts on component constraints will certainly be a focus, Rakers said.

But he also said three key themes coming out of Cisco's upcoming investor day include software expansion and subscription renewal setup; Webscale Cloud Traction; and Cisco's capital-return update.

In August, Cisco reported fourth-quarter earnings ahead of analyst expectations, but missed on guidance.

Chief Executive Chuck Robbins said at that time that "the demand for Cisco technology is strong with our Q4 performance marking the highest product order growth in over a decade."

Cisco is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells CSCO? Learn more now.