Cisco's (CSCO) upcoming second-quarter earnings are expected to shed more light on how well the company is operating around the world, specifically China and what investors can expect regarding tax repatriation.

Areas including North America and Western Europe may have been bright spots in the quarter, according to Oppenheimer analyst Ittai Kidron, but there's concern about emerging markets.

"Overall, we believe Cisco remains appropriately conservative in its outlook given the tough environment, and believe last quarter's expectations reset lowered the risk of a near-term earnings disappointment," Kidron wrote in a note to clients ahead of earnings.

The new administration's tax policies are also likely to be of interest to investors, given Cisco's large overseas cash hoard.

With President-elect Donald Trump having taken office in January 2017, Cisco and CEO Chuck Robbins are likely to be asked what the company thinks about Trump's upcoming tax reform policies. Cisco has $61 billion in overseas cash and any move towards bringing that cash from overseas at a low tax rate could be used for increased spending on R&D, buybacks, dividends and acquisitions.

Earlier this month, Trump said more details on the tax policies he intends to propose would be forthcoming in two or three weeks.

The San Jose-based networking giant is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of 56 cents a share on $11.55 billion in sales, according to analyst estimates compiled by Yahoo! Finance.

In addition to tax reform, investors will want to hear what Cisco is doing to fend off threats from software-defined networking (SDN), arguably the biggest threat to Cisco's business. Companies like Facebook  ( FB) , Alphabet  ( GOOG) ( GOOGL) and others continue to innovate in the Open Compute Project, open sourcing code for networking projects. These initiatives are likely to hurt Cisco's margins, analysts say. 

The company has also been losing market share to its competitors, which highlight the need for Cisco to compete on software and services, particularly cloud-based software.

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