Cisco Earnings Preview: What Wall Street's Saying

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Cisco (CSCO) reports its second-quarter results after market close on Wednesday with investors eager to see whether the networking giant can bounce back after a weaker-than-expected first quarter.

Weighed down by weakness in emerging markets and the challenge of managing through new product cycles in the service provider space, Cisco's first-quarter sales missed analysts' forecasst.

Despite these challenges, however, there are still plenty of Cisco buy ratings on Wall Street, and the company's long-term free-cash-flow growth and margin expansion have been cited as positives. Rival Juniper's (JNPR) stronger-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter results last month may also bode well, although EMC (EMC), another major tech infrastructure player, recently saw its shares slip on weak guidance and IBM (IBM) missed Wall Street's revenue forecast in its recent fiscal fourth quarter. 

During its fiscal first quarter, Cisco's cash flows from operations were $2.6 billion, up slightly from $2.5 billion in the prior year period. The company's first-quarter gross margin was 63%, up from 62.7% in the same period last year.

Cisco is also ramping up its efforts around Software-Defined Networks (SDN), an emerging set of techniques for managing network flows through software.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Cisco to report earnings of 46 cents a share on revenue of $11.03 billion, down from earnings of 51 cents a share on revenue of $12.1 billion in the year-ago period.

The company's shares have slipped 4% over the last three months, but have rallied slightly heading into the second-quarter results.

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