Economic bellwether and online video beneficiary Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO) has announced earnings, up 10 percent to $9.8 billion from $8.9 billion in the year-ago quarter ending March 31. This is a deceleration from the 16 percent growth it saw last quarter, and it’s basically flat sequentially. Net income slipped 5.4 percent to $1.8 billion, but this quarter included a $246 acquisition-related charge. Excluding this, non-GAAP net income was up 9.4 percent to $2.3 billion ($.38 per share). Both the top and bottom line figures came in a bit ahead of estimates, but the question again is outlook. Last quarter, CEO John Chambers warned on the call that the company saw economic weakness for the next “several months”. The question is what kind of guidance they’ll give on this call.
Conference call: Work in progress In the long-term, Cisco still sees year-over-year top-line growth of 12-17 percent. But in the meantime, economic concerns persist, and growth estimates for the coming quarter are in the 9 to 10 percent range. While international growth, particularly in countries like China, Japan and India remains robust, CEO John Chambers admitted: “..we are continuing to see our US and some European customers remain cautious.”
– Service provider weakness: Even when you sell to businesses, you can’t escape the consumer market. US growth was weak this quarter, at 5 percent, done in by a revenue dip in the service provider market. Chambers: “Our growth from cable customers was actually down approximately three percent.”
– Light at the end of the tunnel: Chambers repeated several times that there’s no fundamental weakness going on, but just the typical cycles you see in business. When will there be an upswing? “Probably towards the end of the calendar year, you’ll probably see us start to pick our growth back up.” A number of times, Chambers suggested that spending patterns in the US represented some kind of floor, and that for the most part, this weakness would never get to deep or go on long. And unlike the past two quarters, investors aren’t freaking out after hours, as Cisco shares are up mildly.