Cisco gains 3% as earnings call comments help offset weaker sales forecast

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Cisco gains 3% as earnings call comments help offset weaker sales forecast -- Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO ) reported fiscal fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street expectations as demand was spurred by growing enterprise appetite for AI, security, and cloud.

While Cisco shares initially traded lower in after-hours trade, the stock erased losses and now trades about 3% higher after the management talked up market share gains and AI opportunities during the earnings call.

The company reported adjusted EPS of $1.14 on revenue of $15.2 billion, beating Wall Street estimates of $1.06 on revenue of $15.05B.

Product revenue, which accounts for the bulk of overall revenue, rose 20% in the quarter year on year, while services added 4%.

"This past year was a milestone year for Cisco with record performance in both the full year and Q4," said Chuck Robbins, chair and CEO of Cisco.

"We are seeing solid customer demand, gaining market share, and innovating in key areas like AI, security, and cloud. This momentum gives us confidence in our ability to capture the many opportunities ahead."

Looking ahead, the company forecasts adjusted Q1 earnings of $1.02 to $1.04 on revenue in a range of $14.5B to $14.7B. That was roughly in line with estimates for adjusted EPS of $0.99 on revenue of $14.6B.

For 2024, adjusted EPS was expected in a range of $4.01-4.08 on revenue of $57.0B to $58.2B. Analysts were looking for an adjusted EPS of $4.04 on revenue of $58.4B.

Speaking on the earnings call, CEO Robbins said Cisco gained "over three percentage points of market share year over year in our three largest networking markets: campus switching, wireless LAN, and SP routing."

"We expect further share gains in these areas as market share numbers are released for calendar Q2," he added.

Moreover, Robbins believes Cisco is "super well positioned" for the ongoing AI transition.

BofA analysts said the company is "executing well on many fronts." Still, they reiterated a Neutral rating and a $56 per share price target.

"FY24 revenue growth guidance of 1.1% YoY was below Street’s 2.6% and we see additional risk to estimates, as the diminishing backlog contribution implies a significant order recovery throughout FY24, which might not materialize," they said in a note.

Keybanc analysts also remain sidelined on the stock.

"Cisco continues to innovate, transition to more predictive revenues (40%+ visibility into FY24), and produce operating leverage that generates relatively consistently strong FCF and capital return (mgmt. highlighting more consistent $1.25B share repurchases per quarter that are targeted at offsetting SBC dilution), but we hesitate to expand our current P/E multiple (in line with three-year historical average) before seeing more consistent signs of share gains and improved visibility into F2H24 order growth ramp, informing our SW rating."

Additional reporting by Senad Karaahmetovic

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