A strong U.S. retail sales report during a week many retailers are announcing earnings helped stabilize the stock market Thursday after sharp losses the day before. The Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) seesawed between gains and losses but rallied toward the end of the session.
Today’s stock market
Index Percentage Change Point Change Dow 0.39% 99.97 S&P 500 0.25% 7.00
A solid quarter but weak outlook from Cisco
Network equipment leader Cisco Systems reported fiscal fourth-quarter results in line with expectations, but flat orders and weak guidance raised investor concerns, sending shares down 8.6%. Revenue grew 4.6% to $13.4 billion and adjusted earnings per share rose 19% to $0.83. Analysts were expecting the company to earn $0.01 less per share on revenue of $13.4 billion.
Sales in the Americas, Cisco’s most important region at 61% of revenue, grew 8.9% in Q4. But revenue from Asia-Pacific fell 3.8%, and CFO Kelly Kramer said in the conference call that the company’s business in China plunged 25%. Overall, gross margin improved 90 basis points from last quarter and 230 basis points from the period a year ago. Orders were flat year over year, and Cisco guided to Q1 revenue growth of between 0% and 2%.
Cisco’s challenges are centered on sales to service providers, especially Chinese telecoms, and orders would have been up mid-single digits if it weren’t for a 21% drop in orders to that segment. Those struggles with service providers overshadowed the company’s success in other areastoday.