Cisco Falls Short on Sales

CEO John Chambers cites "unusual uncertainty" in the economy as Q4 sales miss analyst estimates, though earnings per share were up.

By David Needle | Posted Aug 11, 2010
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Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $2.5 billion in non-GAAP today on sales of $10.84 billion for the quarter -- an increase in revenue of 27 percent from the same quarter a year ago, but short of analysts' estimates of $10.88 billion in sales.

Still, Cisco did have some good news for industry watchers: The network giant's Q4 earnings per share of $0.43 (non-GAAP) is a 39 percent increase over last year, beating Wall Street estimates of $0.42 per share.

The news comes at a time when bellwether technology stocks like Cisco's are considered a key indicator as to whether the faltering economy is starting to turn around. Cisco CEO John Chambers was bullish on his company's ability to execute on "things we can control," but was more cautious about the economy in general.

"There are a large number of mixed signals in the market and customer expectations," Chambers said during a conference call with financial analysts. "'Unusual uncertainty' is an accurate description of what's to come."

Chambers said comments by the Fed that the recovery is likely to be on the modest side are consistent with what he's been hearing from customers.

"Whether the global economy continues to show mixed signals or not -- the strength of our financial model and profit generation serves us well," Chambers said in a statement. "As we to continue to successfully grow our business and share of IT investments, our focus is squarely on helping our customers accelerate productivity and growth.

"We are very confident in our strategy, and will continue to aggressively move into new areas where the network is becoming the platform, and where our customers want us to invest and innovate," he added.

On the analyst call, Chambers mentioned smart grid, virtual health care, sports and entertainment as areas the company currently has a limited installed base but expects to generate new revenue opportunities going forward.

Cisco shares fell about 5 percent to $22.57 in after hours trading.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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