Wall Street expects the company to earn 55 cents per share from $11.97 billion in sales, after Cisco's peers and partners laid the groundwork for a lackluster quarter.
"One does not have to look far to understand that both enterprise and service-provider segments remain challenged," Pacific Crest analyst Brent Bracelin wrote in an earnings preview.
"Service-provider spending has appeared particularly weak this quarter, with material miss and lowers out of Radware(RDWR) - Get Report , Ericsson(ERIC) - Get Report , Juniper Networks(JNPR) - Get Report and Infoblox (BLOX) ," explained Bracelin, who puts a $30 per share target on Cisco. "Traditional enterprise IT has also disappointed with weak results out of Avnet(AVT) - Get Report , Brocade (BRCD) , Datalink (DTLK) , EMC (EMC) , IBM(IBM) - Get Report and Seagate(STX) - Get Report , among others."
Bracelin values Cisco at 6.6 times Ebitda, while other "mega-cap" tech names trade at 7.7 times Ebitda.
"The stock is very cheap," said Jim Cramer, TheStreet's founder and manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, which owns CSCO, noting that the dividend yield is nearly 4%.
In addition to weak spending among IT departments and network service providers, Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha noted that slowing GDP growth internationally and foreign exchange could cause concern for Cisco, for which has a $22 per share target price.
Cisco came out well in a UBS survey of 50 companies that resell its products.
"Nearly half of the survey respondents said Cisco was easy to work with followed by HP(HPE) - Get Report and Dell," Milunovich wrote. "On the other hand, [value-added-resellers] found Arista(ANET) - Get Report and Brocade relatively harder to work with." UBS has a $29 per share target for Cisco.
Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White described the quarter as a "tug-of-war" between Cisco's execution and valuation and the overall weak environment, in a note previewing Wednesday's report. The analyst values the company at $34 per share.
The tepid IT outlook would likely cast a shadow on fourth-fiscal quarter guidance.
"Given the plethora of companies calling out weakness in the enterprise market and some citing increased volatility with certain carrier programs, we expect Cisco to offer up a cautious ... outlook," White wrote. Drexel Hamilton projects $12.22 billion in fourth-quarter revenue, versus Wall Street expectations of $12.44 billion. The analyst expects earnings of 58 cents per share, in line with consensus forecasts.