was the bet that tech could climb out of the wreck.
If the financial crisis hit a low point last fall, it was possible that IT spending, which halted abruptly, would start to recover in 2009. And in that scenario, global titans like Cisco,
were considered the key tech stocks to own.
Later today, investors will turn their attention to Cisco after the bell to get a look at how that investment strategy is panning out. Analysts, however, aren't expecting any good news on the recovery front.
Consensus estimates call for fiscal second quarter earnings to fall 4 cents sequentially from the previous quarter to 30 cents a share, not including one-time charges or gains, according to Yahoo! Finance. Sales are expected to fall 12% sequentially to $9 billion, an 8% year-over-year decline.
More important, market enthusiasts will listen closely to CEO John Chambers' informed guesswork as he presents an outlook for Cisco and IT spending generally. The conventional expectations call for earnings to fall a penny from the prior quarter to 29 cents a share on a 3% sequential revenue dip to $8.7 billion in the April quarter.
The last time Cisco
, Chambers said he saw a dramatic drop in orders and noted that the economic slowdown was spreading to Europe and beyond.
Given the spending cuts by big customers like
, which plans to cut about $2.5 billion from its 2009 equipment budget, the picture isn't looking any brighter.
Chambers may find it hard to stick with his sunny long-range growth forecast of 12% to 17% annual growth. Analysts certainly haven't given it much credence.
More compelling evidence came last week when Cisco Internet gear rival
that the challenging economic conditions would cause March quarter sales to fall 13% from already weak December quarter levels.
Citing Juniper's "atrocious" outlook, JPMorgan analyst Ehud Gelblum cut his sales estimate for Cisco's fiscal third quarter and now is calling for an 8% sequential decline.
"We believe the macro slowdown is going to have a deeper and longer impact on Cisco enterprise revenues than most market participants realize," Gelblum wrote in a research note Tuesday.
In other words, expect more wreck for tech.