Disappointing Forecast from Cisco Systems Drags Dow Lower
The major U.S. stock indexes finished mixed on Thursday with the NASDAQ Composite posting the lone gain. The S&P 500 Index briefly traded above its record closing high level for a second session earlier in the session, but sellers regained control into the close. The Dow traded higher early but eventually fell in the wake of a disappointing forecast from Cisco Systems, Inc. A sharp rise in Apple, Inc. provided the primary support for the NASDAQ.
In the cash market on Thursday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 3373.43, down $6.92 or -0.23%. The blue chip Dow Jones industrial Average finished at 27896.72, down 80.12 or -0.32% and the technology-driven NASDAQ Composite closed at 11042.50, up 30.26 or +0.32%.
Cisco’s First-Quarter Forecast Disappoints Shares Fall
Cisco Systems, Inc. on Wednesday forecast first-quarter revenue and profit below Wall Street estimates and laid out a restructuring plan, as the coronavirus crisis forced its clients to hold back spending, Reuters reported. Shares of the top network equipment maker fell nearly 5% ahead of the opening on Thursday.
Cisco Lays Out Restructuring Plan
The restructuring, which includes a voluntary early retirement program and layoffs, will begin this quarter, the company said, adding that it expected to recognize a related one-time charge of about $900 million.
On a conference call with investors, Chief Executive Chuck Robbins said Cisco also plans to reduce its expenses by $1 billion on an annualized basis “over the next few quarters.”
Cisco Revenue Expected to Drop
Cisco expects current-quarter revenue to drop between 9% and 11% from last year, implying a range of between $11.71 billion and $11.97 billion, while analysts had expected $12.25 billion.
It also forecast adjusted earnings of 69 cents to 71 cents per share, below estimates of 76 cents, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
For the fiscal fourth quarter ended July 25, revenue fell about 9% to $12.15 billion (9.31 billion pounds), but beat estimates of $12.08 billion, as more people working from home boosted demand for its web security and teleconferencing tools.
Excluding items, Cisco earned 80 cents per share in the quarter, beating estimates of 74 cents.
Cisco CFO to Retire
The company also announced that Chief Financial Officer Kelly Kramer will retire from Cisco, but will remain with the company until a successor is found.
Kramer told Reuters that Cisco will continue to acquire smaller companies to help boost revenue and that its $2.84 billion acquisition of Aracia Communications Inc. remains on track. The deal was slated to close before the end of Cisco’s fiscal 2020 last month, but the company said it is still awaiting approval from Chinese regulators.
“We still feel good ab out it. We’re responding to their requests as fast as we can to make sure there are no issues,” Kramer said. “We are focused on getting it done.”