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Cisco pops on strong revenue guidance

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Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco, speaking at the 2019 WEF in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 23rd, 2019.

Adam Galica | CNBC

Cisco shares rose more than 6% Thursday after the networking company beat estimates on earnings and revenue and delivered strong revenue guidance for the next quarter.

The pop added more than $14 billion to Cisco’s market cap, bringing it to over $245 billion. The stock is up more than 23% over the past 12 months.

Cisco said revenue grew 4% from a year earlier, reporting $12.96 billion for its third quarter of 2019. That beat analyst estimates of $12.89 billion for the quarter, according to Refinitiv. The company also beat earnings estimates, reporting earnings per share of 78 cents, excluding certain items, compared to the Refinitiv consensus estimate of 77 cents.

Cisco anticipates 4.5% to 6.5% revenue growth for its fiscal fourth quarter, beating analysts’ estimates of 3.5% growth, according to Refinitiv. The company says it’s seeing demand for its new switching product, as customers upgrade their networks to take advantage of software enhancements. Cisco also expects to benefit from the transition to faster 5G networks and is developing the infrastructure for the next generation of devices.

The guidance accounts for the potential impact of tariffs as trade tensions between the U.S. and China persist, CEO Chuck Robbins said on the company’s earnings call on Wednesday. Thus far, he said, the company has seen “very minimal impact”of tariffs.

In a note Thursday morning, MKM Partners analysts maintained a “neutral” rating, saying Cisco “deserves credit for solid execution” and for beating expectations in the midst of a rocky market, but noted that order rates have slowed down.

“We have long held that CSCO outperforms whens orders are accelerating and under performs when orders are decelerating,” the analysts wrote. They cited “meaningful order deceleration” to 4% growth in the third quarter from 8% in the prior period.

“We are concerned that with macro headwinds and tough comparisons there could be further order deceleration in FY20.”

That fear was echoed by analysts at Nomura Instinet.

“Cisco expects 5G spending to help in 2020; we have less confidence,” the analysts wrote, reaffirming their “neutral” rating.

-CNBC’s Jordan Novet contributed to this report.

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