Cisco pops on strong revenue guidance

Key Points
  • Shares of Cisco rose Thursday after the company beat estimates on earnings and revenue for its fiscal third quarter of 2019.
  • The company also provided strong revenue guidance.
  • In notes Thursday, some analysts expressed concern about decelerating order growth.
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins speaks at the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China, in December 2017.
- | AFP | Getty Images

Cisco shares rose 6.7% Thursday after the networking company beat estimates on earnings and revenue and delivered strong revenue guidance for the next quarter.

The pop added more than $15 billion to Cisco's market cap, bringing it to more than $246 billion. The stock is up more than 23% over the past 12 months.

Cisco said revenue grew 4% from a year earlier, reporting $12.96 billion for its fiscal third quarter of 2019. That beat analyst estimates of $12.89 billion for the quarter, according to Refinitiv. The company also topped earnings estimates, reporting earnings per share of 78 cents, excluding certain items, compared with the Refinitiv consensus estimate of 77 cents.

Cisco anticipates 4.5% to 6.5% revenue growth for its fiscal fourth quarter, beating analysts' estimates of 3.5% growth, according to Refinitiv. The company said it's seeing demand for its new switching product, as customers upgrade their networks to take advantage of software enhancements. Cisco also expects to benefit from the transition to faster 5G networks and is developing the infrastructure for the next generation of devices.

The guidance accounts for the potential impact of tariffs as trade tensions between the U.S. and China persist, CEO Chuck Robbins said on the company's earnings call on Wednesday. Thus far, he said, the company has seen "very minimal impact"of tariffs.

In a note Thursday morning, MKM Partners analysts maintained a neutral rating, saying Cisco "deserves credit for solid execution" and for beating expectations in the midst of a rocky market, but noted that order rates have slowed down.

"We have long held that CSCO outperforms whens orders are accelerating and under performs when orders are decelerating," the analysts wrote. They cited "meaningful order deceleration" to 4% growth in the third quarter from 8% in the prior period.

"We are concerned that with macro headwinds and tough comparisons there could be further order deceleration in FY20."

That fear was echoed by analysts at Nomura Instinet.

"Cisco expects 5G spending to help in 2020; we have less confidence," the analysts wrote, reaffirming their neutral rating.

— CNBC's Jordan Novet contributed to this report.

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Cisco beats on top and bottom lines