Cisco Earnings Report Steps Over a Low Bar — Dividend Hike As Well

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Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) has now reported its second-quarter earnings report. We suggested in our earnings preview that the bar was set very low because of the poor report last quarter. Its target price has also come down handily since the last report.

Now we know… Earnings came in at $0.47 per share and revenues came in at $11.2 billion for the quarter. The consensus forecast from Thomson Reuters was $0.46 in earnings per share (versus $0.51 a year ago) and $11.03 billion in revenue (down 8.8%). WhisperNumber had issued a whisper number of $0.48 for the earnings report.

Another bit of big news is out — Cisco is raising its quarterly dividend up to $0.19 per quarter from $0.17. That takes the 3% yield up to 3.3%. Cisco ended the quarter with $471. billion in cash and equivalents.

Cisco is claiming a record quarter of returning $4.9 billion to its shareholders — some $900 million in dividends and $4 billion worth of share repurchases. Cash flows from operations were $2.9 billion for the second quarter.

Cisco now holds its guidance for the conference call, making the report unfinished business. Estimates for the quarter ahead are $0.48 in earnings per share (versus $0.51 a year ago) and $11.34 billion in revenue (down 7.1%).

Sterne Agee just maintained a Buy rating a day ahead of the report, and it gave a $25 price target. The team there said that there is likely downside protection to $21 based on eight-times adjusted 2015 earnings.

The networking giant had previously lowered its longer-term revenue and earnings guidance, down to 3% to 6% in revenue and down to 5% to 7% in earnings. Of course, that is after this year as analysts are looking now for a drop of 2% in earnings per share and a drop of almost 5% in sales.

The stock has traded in a range of $19.98 to $26.49 in the last 52-weeks, and its valuation is roughly 11.5 times expected forward annual earnings. Shares are directionless in the after-hours reaction after closing up $0.14 at $22.85 ahead of earnings.

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