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Analysts See Mostly Flat Results For Cisco's FQ4 Report

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When Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) posts results Wednesday, Wall Street is looking an improvement taking the form of flat earnings and revenue.

Revenue has been trending down in each of the past four quarters and earnings only reversed a similar trend with a slight sequential uptick in the period ended April 26. Yet shares are up nearly 13 percent since January.

MKM's Michael Genovese thinks Cicso will easily beat the July quarter's revenue consensus of $12.15 billion, but he's still Neutral on the stock, citing "worrisome long-term trends.

Although growth in orders may offer "a short-term trading opportunity" for the next couple of quarters, Genovese said Cisco is losing high-end market share and that it will eventually fight back with lower prices, a strategy that will cut its profit margin.

Citi's Ehud Gelblum's very broadly similar rating includes the caveat that if Cisco announces another round of layoffs as rumored, its outlook "could end up higher from the math of lower operating expense."

Gelblum's expectation of an inline quarter for Cisco, and mixed outlook "may not be enough to maintain the strength in the stock that has existed over the past six months."

The upcoming January quarter, the anniversary of a big miss for Cisco, will be the first to show a return to strong year-over year growth.

"We're modeling that quarter as the peak, followed by deceleration," Gelblum said, maintaining a Sell rating and $20.50 target.

An opposing view by Raymond James' Simon Leopold maintained an Outperform rating and $28 target.

"When you consider Cisco's market position and culture of seizing opportunity, we see a promising long-term investment," Leopold said.

Cisco traded recently at $25.26, up nearly one percent.

Latest Ratings for CSCO

DateFirmActionFromTo
Dec 2014Bank of AmericaMaintainsBuy
Dec 2014WedbushInitiates Coverage onOutperform
Dec 2014UBSMaintainsBuy

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