Cisco shares are getting hammered nearly 6% after hours after the company missed targets set by analysts.
The company said in a release that it earned $1.9 billion, or 33 cents per share, in the fiscal fourth quarter that ended July 31. That is an increase of $1.1 billion, or 19 cents per share, over a year ago. But analysts had expected 42 cents in earnings. Overall revenue grow to a record $40 billion.
That’s a big miss, especially for Cisco, a company that often beats estimates. Given that it’s a technology bellwether and often looked to for guidance on the economy as a whole, it will likely add to pressure on the general market tomorrow.
John Chambers, the Cisco CEO, usually sought after as a cheerleader and analyst of the global economy, gave indications that the global economy is slowing down and his customers are becoming more cautious. He peppered his talk with scary words like:
“unusual amount of conservatism”
That, in addition to the 10-cent miss, had investors aggressively pawning off their shares in the after-hours markets. Last we checked, shares were down 6%, though at one point they were down as much as 8%.
Cisco issued guidance of revenue growth of 18-20% in Q1 of FY2011 (the next calendar quarter), but the comparables on that are with the October quarter of 2009, which was still in the teeth of the recession.
Another major element of concern is that gross margins fell from 65% to 64%, an effect that the Cisco attributed to steeper discounts, among other things. However, later in the call, Chambers attributed the “gross margin issues” due “entirely to supply-chain issues.” Apparently large component shortages forced the company to pay a premium to deliver parts to customers.
In conclusion, Chambers said he was as confused as ever, pointing out that “mathmatically the trend is up,” but that he was hearing, “more doubt from customers.”
“I have more trouble reading this thing than ever before,” said Chambers.