Cisco blows past Street's forecast

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Technology powerhouse Cisco posted quarterly profit and revenue that sailed past Wall Street's most optimistic expectations and rose for the first time in more than a year.

The world's largest provider of computer networking gear said its fiscal second-quarter profit jumped 23% from a year ago to $1.9 billion, or 32 cents per share.

Excluding acquisition-related charges, Cisco reported earnings of 40 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who typically strip out one-time items, were expecting 35 cents per share.

Sales rose 8% to $9.8 billion. Analysts were expecting $9.4 billion.

"During the quarter we saw dramatic across the board acceleration and sequential improvement in our business in almost all areas," John Chambers, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement.

During a conference call with analysts, Chambers said the results mark the economy's second phase of recovery as the company's strength was "remarkably balanced" across the board by market segment and geographic location.

Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc. analyst Matt Robinson agreed that balanced growth makes it difficult to find negative aspects to Cisco's results.

Revenue at each of the San Jose, Calif.-based company's product segments rose, and sales by geography were either flat or higher compared to a year ago.

The company's core businesses of making routers and switches for heavy-duty data processing took in $4.6 billion, up 9% from a year ago.

Since Cisco's quarter ends on January 23rd, the company's performance and outlook are perceived by many as an early indicator for the rest of the technology sector.

For the current quarter, Cisco expects revenue between $10.1 billion and $10.3 billion. Analysts are looking for $9.5 billion.

Chambers said the company is adding between 2,000 and 3,000 positions over the next several quarters. Between February and July 2009, Cisco trimmed about 2,000 jobs to manage costs.

Shares of Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500) rose almost to 4% in after-hours trading, after edging up during the regular session.  To top of page

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