Mixed signals about the economy from customers have hurt sales for Cisco Systems, CEO and Chairman John Chambers told CNBC Thursday.
The computer networking giant reported Wednesday that quarterly revenue fell slightly short of Wall Street's expectations, disappointing investors who thought an improving economy and growing Internet traffic would have spurred even stronger sales of routers and switches.
Cisco's stock continued to slide Thursday after plunging in after-hours trading on Wednesday.
Chambers told CNBC his customers have expressed hesitancy about the economy and the recovery, which he expects to continue at a slow rate.
The tech giant is considered a bellwether for the tech industry and the markets, because the fortunes of Cisco are strongly tied to purchases by large corporations, phone companies and governments across the world.
“Anytime the stock price goes down,” said Chambers, “it is gut-wrenching for me.”
Nonetheless, Chambers said he was optimistic about the recovery and Cisco’s prospects going forward. He said the company had added 3,000 employees in the last two quarters, 70 percent of which are in the US, and said he expects to add 3,000 more employees over the next several quarters.