On Oct. 21, Roderick McGeary, an independent director of Cisco Systems (CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems Inc. Report offloaded 11.3% of his stake in the company. The next day, independent director John Hennessy sold 18.68% of his stake.
Scores of investors took these events as signs to flee the stock. But you shouldn't be disturbed by this insider selling. In fact, it's a great buying opportunity.
Contrary to Wall Street rumors of disaster at the networking giant, Cisco is at the top of its industry. Below are the major reasons why your portfolio should include Cisco as a core holding.
For starters, Cisco is a solid dividend-paying stock that delivers consistent income. In these days of 1% CDs, it's tough to find a yield worth getting excited about. Find out how. Find out how you could be getting high yields, explosive growth and tax-free income today.
Great earnings performance; inexpensive stock
Cisco's fourth-quarter earnings announced in August largely beat analysts' expectations. The company recorded earnings a share (EPS) of $0.59 versus a consensus estimate of $0.56. Revenues also surpassed expectations of $12.66 billion to reach a robust $12.80 billion, a decent growth rate of 3.9% year over year for a company transitioning toward greater software-centricity.
For upcoming earnings for the fiscal year's first quarter, analysts from William Blair expect another successful streak -- encouraging growth in next-gen firewalls, application-centric infrastructure, and a rising share in the Unified Computing System pie.
Further, you can also expect 3% revenue growth over the same quarter a year ago, and an EPS upswing of 2 cents to $0.56.
For about a year now, Cisco has outperformed the S&P 500. While the index has registered gains of 4.3% for the past 12 months, Cisco has gained more than 20%.
Yet, on a forward-looking basis, Cisco's shares are undervalued at 12 times fiscal 2016 estimates. Compare this to the S&P 500's valuation of a forward P/E of 17, and you have a very undervalued and attractive buy that's set to soar.
Starting with the contract it won for its next-gen 100G metro network, Cisco is poised to expand its optical business, currently only a small component of its revenue pie.
According to a report from Deutsche Bank (DB) - Get Deutsche Bank AG Report , Cisco will likely roll out 100G+ data center optical platforms in 2016, targeting Web 2.0 and an exploding cloud customer base. Analysts also estimate double-digits bookings for Cisco's Meraki Cloud Services. No surprise that 35 of 39 street analysts rate Cisco as a Hold, Buy, or Strong Buy.
Another growth opportunity stems from the company's foray into Data Preparation with a data analytics platform in alliance with Paxata for analysts, data developers, and data scientists.
With data analytics at the heart of the revolutionary Internet of Things (IoT), the platform would significantly support Cisco's target of becoming the world's number one IT entity. That contrasts with the growth impediments of legacy tech giants such as Intel (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report and IBM (IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report , which are struggling to keep up with the sector's more nimble innovators.
Cisco Systems' new CEO Charles H. Robbins has big plans for the networking products and services giant. He has implemented a road map to transform the company from its current status as a seller of individual switches and routers to a revenue-based model of operations, centered largely around subscriptions, deploying integrated applications and a business blueprint.
To achieve this, Cisco is planning to invest in analytic tools driving automation for large-scale data centers and for billions of objects linked to the Internet. Already, Cisco's equipment routes 80% of the world's Internet traffic.
If these aren't enough reasons to invest in the company, consider its dividend yield.
Compared to the 2% yield S&P 500 stocks currently shell out, Cisco presents investors with a 21-cent quarterly payout that yields 2.86% on an annual basis.
High on dividend yields? Here is a list of the best dividend stocks of 2015.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.