Cisco Systems (CSCO), the world's largest computer networking maker, reported a 79% increase in earnings, but the company's revenue fell short of analyst expectations. The result? Investors pushed the stock down nearly 8% in after-hours trading.
Last quarter, Cisco earned $1.9 billion or 33 cents per share, a 79% increase from the same period last year, when the company was in the throes of the recession and reported earnings of $1.1 billion, or 19 cents per share. On a non-GAAP (generally accepted accounted principles) basis, the company earned 43 cents per share, one penny higher than analysts' expectations of 42 cents per share.
Cisco's solid, if unremarkable, results show that the tech bellwether made significant progress rebounding from last year's economic slump, but not as much as analysts had hoped. Like other important tech companies, Cisco's light revenue number suggests business technology spending is not growing fast enough to drive the strong economic growth the U.S. needs to power a robust recovery from the recession.
Bland Results, But Nothing "Structurally Broken"
Still, given the economic climate, Cisco's results show the company is headed in the right direction. "Because it isn't as aggressive a beat as in other times, but in line with the Street, the Street is probably disappointed with what they posted," Catherine Trebnick, an analyst at Avian Securities told CNBC. "But I don't think it means anything is structurally broken."
In a statement, Cisco CEO John Chambers touted the company's results.
"This was yet another very strong quarter with a number of record financial results for Cisco, closing the fiscal year in a tremendous position of strength-a compelling financial model, a well-tuned innovation engine and solid execution on our growth strategy," Chambers said.
Chambers offered a decidedly mixed assessment of the broader economy, but insisted the company is well-positioned to weather whatever stormy economic seas lie ahead.
"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.
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