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An (Almost) Bear-Free Zone: Wall Street Reacts To Cisco's Earnings

An Almost Bear-Free Zone: Wall Street Reacts To Cisco's Earnings

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO)'s fiscal first quarter earnings and outlook were strong enough to push the stock to a new multiyear high. Here's what some of Wall Street's top analysts are saying after the print:

Barclays: The Positives And Negatives

Barclays' Mark Moskowitz maintains an Overweight on Cisco's stock with a price target raised from $34 to $37.

Cisco's earnings report consisted of three positives and three negatives, Moskowitz said in a research report. The positives are:

  • The fiscal second quarter guidance implies a "nice return to growth" at a time when investors were expecting worse.
  • The Catalyst 9000 is performing well
  • Deferred product revenue growth was "strong" at 37 percent.

Cisco's negatives in Q1 were, according to Moskowitz:

  • Memory pricing was negatively impacted by gross margin, although the impact was "well managed.
  • SP revenue was "weak" and a drag on the routing division.
  • Cisco reduced its transparency surrounding the underlying business segments.

Bank Of America: 'Road Bumps' Ahead

Bank of America's Tal Liani reiterated a Neutral on Cisco's stock with a price target raised from $35 to $37.

Cisco is active in pursuing multiple growth initiatives that continued to ramp in the quarter, Liani said in a Thursday note. For example, AppDynamics helped boost application revenues by 6 percent and security by 8 percent. But at the same time Cisco's trends moving forward remain "challenging," and while management's guidance implies positive growth, the road to a long-term recovery is long, Liani said. 

Cisco also holds a small position in the public cloud infrastructure space and continues to lose share in its largest market — switching — the analyst said. The ongoing challenging fundamentals implies the potential for "additional road bumps" ahead, according to BofA. 

Citi: Higher Multiple Justified

Citi's Jim Suva maintains a Buy on Cisco's stock with a price target raised from $36 to $40.

One of the most notable takeaways from Cisco's report is that management's guidance for the January quarter implies growth for the first time in over one year and was "much better than expected," Suva said in a Thursday note. As the company returns to growth, the stock could command a higher valuation, Suva said. It's presently trading at less than 14x PE with a dividend yield close to 4 percent, the analyst said. 

BMO: Guidance Concerns

BMO Capital Markets' Tim Long maintains a Market Perform on Cisco's stock with a price target raised from $32 to $36.

Cisco's earnings report came in slightly above expectations, and the company's guidance implies a return to growth, Long said in a Wednesday note. But Cisco's guidance also includes a mixed margin outlook, as both gross and operating margins fell short of what was expected, the analyst said. 

While Cisco's momentum in recurring revenue remains strong, it's still in the early days, Long said.

Cisco's routing business remains challenged and will remain a headwind moving forward, the analyst said. 

Related Link: Cisco's Q1: What Was Bullish, What Was Bearish

Deutsche Bank: Growth Across All Regions

Deutsche Bank's Vijay Bhagavath maintains a Buy on Cisco with a price target raised from $40 to $45.

Cisco's "solid" earnings report marked a return to order growth across all three regions and showed continued strength in the Catalyst 9000 line, Bhagavath said in a Thursday note. Another standout in the quarter, according to Deutsche Bank: double-digit growth in next-gen security, which was offset by challenges in the service provider, large enterprise routing and headwinds for memory pricing. 

Nomura: Growth Restored

Nomura's Jeffrey Kvaal maintains a Neutral on Cisco with a price target raised from $29 to $33.

Cisco's earnings report was "propelled" by the company's new campus switch and security growth, Kvaal said in a note. The company's ongoing sales momentum should continue, but at the same time the new reporting structure "obscures some weak spots," the analyst said. 

Tigress Financial: Look Elsewhere

Cisco's better-than-expected earnings report and guidance were driven by positive applications revenue and strong cybersecurity performance, Tigress Financial's Ivan Feinseth said in his daily morning newsletter. But the company is joining a growing crowd of network-based cybersecurity providers — and competing against companies with "stronger business models and [that] represent better values."

"I believe the stock trades up to the middle to high $30s and would look to be a seller rather than a buyer," Feinseth said.

Related Link:

Is 2018 The Year Cisco Believers Have Been Waiting For?

Latest Ratings for CSCO

May 2021DZ BankDowngradesBuyHold
May 2021Raymond JamesMaintainsOutperform
May 2021MKM PartnersInitiates Coverage OnBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for CSCO
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