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Cisco Fans Ready to Rock

Investors expect an upbeat earnings report late Tuesday.

Cisco (CSCO) - Get Free Report fans are looking for something solid to hitch their second-half hopes to.

The San Jose, Calif., networking gear shop will release fiscal fourth-quarter earnings after the market's close Tuesday. Given the stock's steady performance this year -- Cisco is up 10% for 2007 and 22% above its 52-week low -- analysts are expecting to see some strong numbers.

"I'm not expecting anything big, but it should be solidly in line," said one money manager who owns Cisco.

With so many segments of the business enjoying healthy demand -- like sales to developing markets, governments, cable operators and telcos -- it's not hard to see where Cisco fans get their confidence. Cisco and rival


(JNPR) - Get Free Report

are both trading near their 52-week highs.

Some analysts say Cisco's balance across product segments, and a good spread of sales among world regions, should insulate the company from any sudden order slowdowns in a given area.

In other words, there are a lot of pedals pushing the Cisco bike.

One area where analysts expect to see some good progress is in Cisco's dealings with big U.S. businesses.

"We believe there's a decent chance U.S. enterprise orders reaccelerate in the fiscal fourth quarter, Cisco's typical seasonally strongest quarter," JPMorgan analyst Ehud Gelblum wrote in a research note.

Other Cisco analysts agree.

Given the strong recent performances by


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in corporate information technology sales, UBS analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos wrote in a note Thursday, it's likely Cisco has been performing well too.

"We believe Enterprise was strong in Emerging Markets and Europe," Theodosopoulos writes. "U.S. enterprise also likely improved after two soft quarters," he predicts.

Overall, analysts expect Cisco to post fiscal fourth-quarter pro forma earnings of 35 cents a share on $9.3 billion in sales.

As for guidance, analysts say Cisco will probably keep its annual growth forecast in the 10% to 15% range. But UBS' Theodosopoulos is looking for something toward the top of that range.

For tech investors, that could mean an easy coast to the end of the year.