Unusual Sell Rating Issued on Cisco

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Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) may be in hot water with investors after its last earnings report smashed everyone who was remotely positive going into that report. Now we have a new analyst report calling Cisco a “Sell” on Wednesday. This may be a blow to those hoping for a snapback turnaround after shares were pounded in November.

Citigroup had many networking calls on Wednesday with mixed to positive outlooks, but this Sell rating comes with a downside price target of $18.00 on Cisco’s stock in 2014. Shares of Cisco closed at $21.21 on Tuesday, and the 52-week range is $19.31 to $26.49. This $18 price target is much lower than the Thomson Reuters consensus price target of $23.79. It is also only $2 above the street’s lowest price target of $16.

There are other reports out as well. Piper Jaffray fingered Cisco as one of eight U.S. tech giants that China has deemed as security threats. Mizuho Securities also reinstated coverage of Cisco with an unambitious Neutral rating.

Elsewhere, the second highest court in the European Union has upheld Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype (closed two years ago or so). This was a block of a Cisco appeal, and Cisco can still make one final appeal. Cisco’s position was that this would restrict competition in consumer video conversations and in business video conversations.

Cisco shares were down almost 1% to $21.03 in early Wednesday trading. Its stock performance has been so bad that Cisco may make it on the list of the Dogs of the Dow in 2014 for the first time ever.