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Cisco Pummeled After Soft Outlook

The gearmaking giant's shares fall as the company admits to a challenging January and trims its targets.

Updated from Feb. 6


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says its feeling the sting of a slowdown, and investors weren't wasting any time expressing their disappointment.

Following a Wednesday report where the San Jose, Calif., networking equipment maker met Wall Street's second-quarter estimates, the company told analysts that January was "challenging."

CEO John Chambers, speaking on a conference call, cut fiscal third-quarter guidance to 10% growth, down from the 15% previously expected. Chambers said the slump in demand he saw in January "may continue over the next several months."

Shares of Cisco sank 9% in premarket trading Thursday to $21, a 52-week low.

While cutting the current quarter's forecast, he did reiterate that the company's long-term annual growth rate will continue to be somewhere between 12% and 17%.

The news comes after Cisco reported adjusted earnings of $2.4 billion or 38 cents a share for the quarter ended last month. That's up 15% from the pro forma profit in the year-ago period. Analysts were looking for 38 cents in adjusted earnings.

Cisco typically comes in a penny higher than analysts' estimates.

Sales for the quarter ended last month were $9.8 billion a 16% increase over the $8.4 billion revenue level last year. The top-line number slightly beat analysts estimates that called for sales of $9.79 billion.

Cisco shares had been down one-third in the past three months as investors feared the drag from a slowing economy and a slide in tech spending.