Earnings Preview: Cisco to report 2Q earnings

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NEW YORK (AP) ? Cisco Systems Inc., the world’s largest maker of computer networking equipment, is in turnaround mode, and analysts expect it to report continued progress when it reveals earnings for the fiscal second quarter after the market closes Wednesday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Cisco was in the doldrums a year ago, missing out on the economic recovery and losing out to competitors on orders. CEO John Chambers slashed jobs and narrowed the company’s focus, which had been scattered as it tried to expand into new markets.

The strategy started to restore investor confidence in the fall. Cisco reported clear progress when reporting results for the quarter that ended in October.

Shaw Wu at Sterne Agee said industry checks indicate healthy demand in the most recent quarter, which ended in January, and product updates from Cisco should have helped even as competitor Juniper Networks Inc. stumbled.

If the improvement continues, it will be the third quarter in a row that Cisco doesn’t disappoint investors, setting the stage for a continued stock rally. The shares are up 50 percent from the eight-year low of $13.30 hit in August.

WHY IT MATTERS: Cisco is one of the largest technology companies. Its wide reach and sensitivity to business and government investment cycles make it something of an economic bellwether. It’s a component of the Dow Jones industrial average.

WHAT’S EXPECTED: Analysts polled by FactSet expect Cisco to report earnings of 43 cents per share on revenue of $11.22 billion.

Cisco usually provides an outlook for the new quarter. Analysts are expecting earnings of 45 cents per share on $11.46 billion in revenue.

LAST YEAR’S QUARTER: Cisco reported net income of $1.5 billion, or 27 cents per share, on revenue of $10.4 billion. Adjusting for unusual items and the cost of stock-based compensation, Cisco earned 37 cents per share.