With Cisco reporting quarterly earnings moments ago, traditionally one of the closers of earnings season, few were expecting big fireworks out of the company, and based on what the company reported for the just concluded quarter, there should not have been any: in its fiscal Q3 the company earned $0.50 in GAAP EPS, which however after some aggressive fudging was pushed up to $0.60 non-GAAP, beating expectations by 2 cents. Revenue of $11.94 billion likewise beat estimates by $50 million.
However, it was the company's projections that stunned the market, because while the company predicted Q4 EPS of $0.60 to $0.62 (or $0.46-$0.51 GAAP), on the low end of consensus estimates of $0.62 (in a range of $0.58 to $0.66), despite a subpar gross margin forecast of 63-64%, below the 64.2% estimate, the company now expects revenue to plunge between 4 and 6% in its last fiscal quarter. Wall Street's estimate: a modest 1% drop.
Putting the projected revenue drop in context, this would be the worst top-line drop in years.
CSCO CEO Chuck Robbins: "I am pleased with the progress we are making on the multi-year transformation of our business. The Network is becoming even more critical to business success as our customers add billions of new connections to their enterprises. We are laser focused on delivering unparalleled value through highly secure, software-defined, automated and intelligent infrastructure."
Unfortunately, Robbins did not elaborate on what is causing the dramatic cut to the company's guidance, which immediately has led to speculation that the cyclical rebound in the global economy is now over, at least when it comes to CSCO and its tech peers, sending CSCO stock tumbling after hours.
Needless to say, nobody could have possibly seen this coming: here is how the sellside came into today's earnings: 21 buys, 15 holds, 0 sells.