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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Cisco share price: What to expect in Q4 earnings

by Century Financial in Brainy Bull

Cisco share price: What to expect in Q4 earnings

Like most other companies, Cisco's [CSCO] share price has experienced some choppy trading so far this year. It is only 2.04% down on the year, having recovered ground from the coronavirus-triggered selloff in March. Whether the recovery in Cisco’s share price continues will depend on Q4 results, due out this week.

Promisingly, the networking giant beat Wall Street expectations last quarter. Another earnings beat could see Cisco’s share price break out, while a miss could see it plummet. So what should investors watch out for in Cisco's Q4 earnings?

When is Cisco reporting Q4 earnings?

12 August

What could move Cisco's share price post-earnings?
Software subscriptions on the rise

Third-quarter results were a mixed bag for Cisco. Revenue came in at $12bn, an 8% decline from the $13bn seen in the same quarter the previous year. Net income was also down, coming in at $2.8bn, a 9% decline from the $3bn seen in 2019.

However, Cisco saw good progress in transitioning software sales to a subscription-based model. In the results, software subscriptions increased 9%, making up 74% of all software revenue, while money brought in from security products increased 6% to $776m year-on-year. Shareholders will be looking for how Cisco is progressing with this shift in Q4 results. Any positive news could bode well for both Cisco's share price and the company's long-term future.

"We executed well in Q3 in a very challenging environment, delivering strong margins and non-GAAP EPS growth," said Kelly Kramer, Cisco’s CFO, in the Q3 earnings call. "The resiliency that we have been building into our business model is paying off, with software subscriptions now at 74% of our software revenue, up 9 points year over year. We are focused on driving long-term profitable growth while delivering shareholder value."

Reduced demand for working from home

Not everyone is convinced that Cisco’s share price is a buy right now, however. On InvestorPlace, John Jagerson and Wade Hansen, editors at Strategic Trader, write that now is the time to sell Cisco shares.

They argue that the sales splurge Cisco enjoyed at the start of the pandemic is not sustainable. As more companies welcome staff back to brick and mortar offices, the demand for products such as virtual meeting software like Cisco Webex could start to slide. Evidence of reduced demand for these products in the results will likely see Cisco's share price fall.

"Companies are still reopening even as cases rise, and those that aren’t won’t be buying any new equipment. CSCO’s sales surge was nice, but it probably isn’t sustainable," wrote Jagerson and Hansen.

What is Wall Street predicting for Cisco’s share price?

Wall Street is expecting Cisco to post earnings per share of $0.74 in Q4, down from $0.83 a share in the same quarter last year. Revenue is pegged at $12.08bn, a 10% decline from the $13.43bn seen last year. Cisco itself expects revenue to decrease between 8.5% and 11.5% in Q4, on non-GAAP earnings of between $0.72 and $0.74 a share. Such reductions could well see Cisco’s share price take a hit.

Will Cisco beat expectations in Q4?

Investment website Zacks is bullish about Cisco's earnings potential this quarter. In Zacks' assessment, Cisco has a history of topping analyst expectations, delivering an average 5.25% surprise for the past two earnings reports. In Q3, Cisco reported earnings of $0.79 per share, easily beating the expected $0.72 per share. For Q4, Zacks Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) is 2.52%, suggesting that Cisco could once again top analyst expectations.

So, time to buy Cisco?

Cisco's share price carries an average $49.76 12-month price target from analysts on Yahoo Finance, which would see a 4.91% upside on Cisco’s share price through 7 August’s close. Among the 27 analysts offering recommendations on Yahoo Finance, 19 rate it either a Strong Buy or a Buy.

Ultimately, Cisco is a high-quality stock that could deliver for investors over the long-term. Adding value for income-seeking investors is a 3.06% forward dividend yield — an increasingly rare thing in today’s markets, topping both Intel and Microsoft's expected yields.

Source: This content has been produced by Opto trading intelligence for Century Financial and was originally published on cmcmarkets.com/en-gb/opto

Disclaimer: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by Century Financial or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

Century Financial does not endorse or offer opinion on the trading strategies used by the author. Their trading strategies do not guarantee any return and Century Financial shall not be held responsible for any loss that you may incur, either directly or indirectly, arising from any investment based on any information contained herein.

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