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Cisco Stock Keeps Rising

Shares rise 7% after the networker's latest strong earnings.

Updated from 7:20 a.m. EDT


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shares jumped 7% early Wednesday after the company raised guidance for the first quarter.

Bear Stearns upgraded the stock following Tuesday evening's fiscal fourth-quarter report, citing an increasingly diversified revenue stream.

The San Jose, Calif., networking gearmaker made $1.93 billion, or 31 cents a share, for the fiscal fourth quarter ended July 28, up from the year-ago $1.54 billion, or 25 cents a share. Revenue rose to $9.43 billion from $7.98 billion a year earlier.

Excluding certain items, so-called non-GAAP earnings were 36 cents a share in the latest quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a 35-cent profit on sales of $9.29 billion.

"Cisco delivered another record quarter with great execution across the company," said CEO John Chambers. "Again, the performance was based on our balanced approach across products, services, geographies and customer segments and our ability to catch and execute on key market transitions."

The company said in a postclose conference call with investors Tuesday that business accelerated in the fourth quarter, as sales were strong even in slowing U.S. markets. Cisco said its book-to-bill ratio, reflecting the proportion of orders to products shipped, was above 1, a bullish indicator of future demand. Orders rose 19% from a year ago in the quarter.

But Cisco shares surged after Chambers told investors the company expects to post first-quarter revenue of $9.45 billion to $9.55 billion, up around 16% from a year ago. Analysts were looking for revenue of $9.38 billion.

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Chambers also announced that CFO Dennis Powell will retire in December around his 60th birthday. He'll be succeeded by former


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exec Frank Calderoni, who worked at Big Blue with Chambers.

Asked by an analyst if Cisco was seeing any weakness due to credit markets and mortgage industry failures, Chambers was quick to say no.

"In 30 years," Chambers said on a conference call, "this is the strongest global economy I've been a part of."

The news comes as big tech stocks have surged to 52-week highs amid a marketwide rotation away from financial stocks that could be hit by weakness in the credit markets. Cisco and rival


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have been trading near their 52-week highs this week.

Cisco shares were trading up $2.43, or 8.18%, to $32.12 in recent trading Wednesday.