Wall Street expects solid numbers and a sunny outlook for the second half of the year when Cisco presents its fiscal third-quarter report after the market's close Tuesday.
Analysts who have checked Cisco's sales channels report that business is humming along at the expected pace. And further ahead, as plans unfold, demand for new gear should pick up as video over the Net starts to materialize and telcos work to overhaul their networks.
That, of course, is the bullish take. And if Cisco doesn't slip up in the slightest, the market optimism should continue.
Shares of the San Jose, Calif., computer networking shop have risen 21% this year as investors warm to the idea that there is a lot of opportunity to build more Internet. The momentum hasn't hurt the Nasdaq, which is up 6% since January.
"I think they are fine, and I expect they will be in-line," says one analyst who rates the stock a buy.
If there is any hitch in the works, the analyst cautions, it may come from
, the TV-set-top box maker that Cisco acquired in February. This will be the first quarter when SFA's numbers get mixed into Cisco's. And there's the possibility for some confusion, as analysts try to gauge the financial impact of SFA's contribution and adjust their projections accordingly, says the analyst.
Scientific-Atlanta's sales should be strong, at least judging by cable-gear rival
( MOT) recent report. One concern is that Cisco's luxurious margins will start to shrink as SFA's numbers enter the mix.
Analysts are looking for Cisco to report adjusted net income of 26 cents a share on $7.16 billion in revenue. But, as always, investors will be tuned in to CEO John Chambers' finely minced outlook on the economy and the business.
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Cisco's current quarter, ending in July, is typically one of the biggest for shipments. Analysts expect a 10% sequential increase in sales growth for the quarter.
The trends seem to be going in Cisco's favor in the second half of the year, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue says in a research note.
"This is when Cisco may see a ramp in spending with service-provider customers for triple play and IPTV with customers such as
, and others," Sue says.