After trading ends tomorrow afternoon (ET), Cisco will announce its financial results for the fourth quarter of its 2009 fiscal year.
The stock has traded upwardly for the past month amid rising expectations about the macroeconomic climate, the presumed bottoming out of the computer-networking space last quarter, and Cisco’s relatively strengthened position in many market segments in which it competes.
Cisco, it goes without saying, is a technology-market bellwether, so its results and forecasts — like those of Intel, IBM, HP, Microsoft, and now Google — are carefully scrutinized by market sages and fools alike.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Cisco to post earnings of 28 cents per share on $8.5 billion in revenue. Cisco has said it expects sales to be down 17 percent to 20 percent from a year ago, which corresponds to a range of $8.3 billion to $8.6 billion.
Many analysts think Cisco will surpass those numbers, if only slightly. They are looking for earnings just above 28 cents per share, perhaps bolstered by cost controls and lower operating expenses, and for revenue reaching the higher end of estimates.
A key to how the market reacts, as always, will be the guidance provided by Cisco CEO John Chambers and his executive team. Analyst and investors will be listening closely to the tone as well as the substance of what is said. Sentiment – Is the market coming back and, if so, how much? – will be a critical factor in after-hours and next-day trading.