It's clear that the stock market is overvalued and poised for a correction. And yet, on Monday, the broader indices closed at new highs. Where can you turn for safe growth opportunities?
Look for undervalued, key players in industries that are benefiting from irreversible trends. And few trends enjoy the long-term momentum that's now propelling cybersecurity.
Pick up any newspaper or turn on any newscast, and it won't take long before you're confronted with yet another story about the scourge of our age: cyberattacks. No individual or corporation is safe. And as the 2016 election showed, no politician, government official or agency is safe either.
That's why you should consider Cisco Systems (CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report , a leader in cybersecurity that's now trading at a bargain because the investment herd mistakenly considers this legacy player (market cap: $160.4 billion) too unwieldy and behind the curve.
But there's no logic in punishing Cisco merely because it's a familiar legacy player in Silicon Valley. The company may lack the sex appeal of smaller Johnny-come-latelys, but it's applying its enormous cash hoard to acquire smaller innovators and to further cement its lead in cybersecurity. The maker of networking equipment such as routers and switches also is expanding its cloud-based offerings and making forays into groundbreaking fields, such as The Internet of Things. The company is by no means standing still.
Cisco is scheduled to report second-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings on Wednesday. The average analyst expectation is that earnings per share (EPS) will come in at 56 cents, compared to 57 cents in the same period a year ago. Earnings for the next quarter is pegged at 58 cents, compared to 57 cents in the same year-ago quarter. Full-year earnings is estimated at $2.37 a share, compared to $2.36 a share last year. Five-year earnings growth is slated at a healthy 9.16% on an annualized basis.
Wall Street was disappointed with Cisco's second-quarter earnings guidance, which management set in the range of 55-57 cents a share. The company had posted earnings of 53 cents a share in the year-ago second quarter.
Keep in mind, though, that Cisco has beaten the consensus estimate in all of the last four trailing quarters, with an average positive surprise of 6.94%.
Nonetheless, unrealistic expectations are weighing on the stock. Since the company's operating results and guidance were released on Nov. 16, the stock has fallen 0.1%. Cisco's trailing 12-month price-to-earnings ratio now stands at 15.3 times, compared to 26.02 times for the overall technology sector.
Cisco's solid growth prospects combined with low valuation equals investment opportunity for you. What's more, Trump's proposed tax policy of allowing companies to repatriate their overseas cash will benefit such companies as Cisco, Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report and IBM (IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report , which can in turn deploy their cash for further acquisitions and organic growth.
Cisco's current dividend yield is 3.30%, making the stock an appealing growth-and-income package at a bargain.
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John Persinos is an analyst with Investing Daily. At the time of publication, he owned stock in Cisco.
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