With the crowning of the Chicago White Sox as World Series champions, the 2005 baseball season has come to an end. Professional football approaches its halfway point just as hockey and basketball seasons begin. Halloween has come and gone; hopefully, the resultant expansion of my waistline will go soon as well. More people will be depressed now that the clocks have been moved back such that it gets darker earlier. Doctors refer to this phenomenon as seasonal affective disorder, which is related to diminished hours of sunlight, not to the end of the baseball season. Despite these changes, time, the market and life continue to move forward. But looking forward sometimes means looking back. For my first pick today, I go back to one of the great growth stocks of the 1990s: Cisco Systems ( CSCO). I know what you're thinking ... Cisco? When is this guy going to realize we are in 2005, not 2000? Cisco is a tired stock, a little long in the tooth. I have no problem with those comments, because that probably means you are not going to buy Cisco. That means "more stock on sale for me," which I will gladly take! As we all know, this whole business is about supply and demand. The more supply, the cheaper the stock. On the flip side, if you tried to buy a Play Station 2, or PS2, in the year 2000 (there's that year again), then you realized real fast what the word demand meant. On Nov. 9, the day that Cisco releases its third-quarter results, those two words, "supply and demand," will dictate the fate of billions of dollars worth of stock. Now, let's get down and dirty:
Cisco is trading at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 15.02;
Cisco's return on equity is 23.43 %;
Cisco's free cash flow is $5.4 billion;
Cisco has zero debt, yes -- goose egg!
Cisco has just under $7 billion in cash.
Looking forward, I expect Cisco to continue to see increased demand for its routers from the many telecom providers upgrading their networks. Also, I expect many corporations to increase productivity -- why? They don't want to chance losing their customers. There is more competition now, the customers have more options. I believe Cisco will report solid growth in its networking business and voice-over-Internet protocol products with embedded security features.