Cisco Beats Its Own Lowered Sales Estimates As Slowing U.S. Economy Bites

The slowing U.S. economy is biting a lot of tech companies hard, but Cisco – seen as a barometer of the tech industry by many on Wall Street – has managed to meet its own lowered financial forecasts and beat those of the analysts in its latest quarterly results.

The company posted sales of $9.79 billion in the three months ending April 26, up on analysts estimates of $9.75 billion, with earnings of $1.77 billion – 29 cents per share. That’s a drop in earnings of 5.4 percent from the same period last year.

As with other companies, the big slowdown in sales was in the U.S., with Europe continuing to grow at a solid pace and emerging markets a spectacular 44 percent. The slowdown is expected to hit outside the U.S. in the coming months, however, and Cisco warned of continued muted results in the months to follow. Wall Street wasn’t looking for a bumper crop however, just one that looks solid enough to say that the economy isn’t doing a complete ARA General Belgrano.

Considering the relatively mixed economic environment we’re in, I think it was a really good quarter from a balance perspective and an execution perspective — we did what we said we were going to do," Jonathan Chadwick, Cisco’s corporate controller, said in an interview.

Cisco offered a sales guidance of 9 to 10 percent growth in the fourth quarter, with Cisco’s chief executive, John Chambers, saying on a conference call that he expects companies in the U.S. to remain cautious about spending until at least the end of 2008.