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Could Cisco Systems Stock Help You Retire Early?

Tech major Cisco Systems (CSCO) raised its guidance for fiscal 2023 when many companies announced layoffs and lowered their guidance. Given this positive and the company’s reliable dividend payments, can the stock be a smart addition to a retirement portfolio? Read on to learn our view…

Every investor looks for that one stock that will create enormous wealth and help retire early. Although it’s easier said than done, the stock market presents investors with opportunities to retire early.

San Jose, California- based Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) has defied the sell-off in tech stocks this year. The stock has gained 10.8% in price over the past month and 14.8% over the past six months to close the last trading session at $49.64. In comparison, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has declined 0.9% over the past month and 28.1% year-to-date.

CSCO designs and manufactures Internet Protocol-based networking and other communications and information technology-related products. The stock’s outperformance can be attributed to its fiscal first-quarter results, where CSCO surpassed the consensus revenue and EPS estimates. Its EPS came 2.9% higher than analyst estimates, and its revenue beat the consensus estimate by 2.6%.

CSCO’s non-GAAP EPS of $0.86 was its second-highest quarterly non-GAAP EPS in history. The company delivered its largest quarterly revenue in its history. Its annualized recurring revenue (ARR) rose 7% year-over-year to $23.20 billion, while its product ARR increased 12% year-over-year. Its software revenue rose 5% year-over-year, and its software subscription revenue rose 11% year-over-year.

CSCO’s remaining performance obligations (RPO) rose 3% year-over-year to $30.90 billion, and product RPO increased 5% year-over-year.

Due to a significant rise in energy costs and market volatility in Europe, CSCO is witnessing increased cautiousness among European businesses. However, this has given the company an opportunity as its IoT, Silicon One, and power over ethernet technologies will help significantly reduce power consumption.

For fiscal 2023, the company raised its guidance for revenue growth from the previously expected range of 4%-6% to 4.5%-6.5% year-over-year. CSCO has also upped its non-GAAP EPS guidance by 4.5%-6.5% year-over-year to $3.51-$3.58.

CSCO Chair and CEO Chuck Robbins said, “These results demonstrate the relevance of our strategy, our differentiated innovation, and our unique position to help our customers become more resilient.” CSCO’s CFO, Scott Herren, said, “We delivered strong results in Q1 and continued to make progress on our business transformation.”

“This, together with our significant backlog, strong RPO, and easing supply situation, provides us with great visibility and predictability and supports our increased full-year guidance,” he added.

CSCO pays a $1.52 per share dividend annually, which translates to a 3.06% yield on the current share price. Its four-year dividend yield is 2.98%. The company’s dividend payouts have grown at CAGRs of 3.05% and 5.97% over the past three and five years, respectively. It paid a quarterly dividend of $0.38 on October 26, 2022.

Wall Street analysts expect the stock to hit $54.40 in the near term, indicating a potential upside of 9.6%.

Here’s what could influence CSCO’s performance in the upcoming months:

Strategic Partnership

On October 12, 2022, CSCO and tech giant Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) announced their partnership where CSCO and MSFT Teams will be able to run natively on CSCO Room and Desk devices, and CSCO will be a partner in the Certified for MSFT Teams program in the first half of 2023.

Through this partnership, CSCO is helping drive interoperability and is meeting its customers’ needs.

Robust Financials

CSCO’s total revenue increased 5.7% year-over-year to $13.63 billion for the first quarter ended October 29, 2022. The company’s non-GAAP net income increased 2.1% year-over-year to $3.55 billion. Its non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.86, representing an increase of 4.9% year-over-year. 

In addition, its non-GAAP operating income increased 1.1% year-over-year to $4.33 billion.

Favorable Analyst Estimates

Analysts expect CSCO’s EPS for fiscal 2023 and 2024 to increase 5.6% and 8.1% year-over-year to $3.55 and $3.83, respectively. Its revenue for fiscal 2023 and 2024 is expected to increase 5.7% and 4% year-over-year to $54.49 billion and $56.67 billion, respectively. It has surpassed Street EPS estimates in each of the trailing four quarters.

Mixed Valuation

In terms of forward non-GAAP P/E, CSCO’s 14x is 29% lower than the 19.72x industry average. Likewise, its 10.89x forward EV/EBIT is 33.9% lower than the 16.47x industry average.

However, its 2.74x forward non-GAAP PEG is 76% higher than the 1.56x industry average. Also, its 3.74x forward P/S is 43.7% higher than the 2.60x industry average.

High Profitability

In terms of the trailing-12-month gross profit margin, CSCO’s 62.23% is 25.1% higher than the 49.77% industry average. Likewise, its 30.34% trailing-12-month EBITDA margin is 158.3% higher than the industry average of 11.74%. Furthermore, the stock’s 26.97% trailing-12-month EBIT margin is 307.3% higher than the industry average of 6.62%.

POWR Ratings Show Promise

CSCO has an overall rating of A, equating to a Strong Buy in our POWR Ratings system. The POWR Ratings are calculated by considering 118 different factors, each weighted to an optimal degree.

Our proprietary rating system also evaluates each stock based on eight distinct categories. CSCO has a C grade for Value, consistent with its mixed valuation.

It has an A grade for Quality, in sync with its high profitability. Its 0.98 beta justifies its B grade for Stability.

CSCO is ranked #3 out of 48 stocks in the Technology – Communication/Networking industry. Click here to access CSCO’s Growth, Momentum, and Sentiment ratings.

Bottom Line

CSCO is trading above its 50-day and 200-day moving averages of $44.91 and $46.92, respectively, indicating an uptrend. The company delivered impressive fiscal first-quarter results and raised its guidance despite the various challenges.

The company is witnessing solid demand across its segments. Given its robust financials, favorable analyst estimates, stable dividend payments, and high profitability, it could be wise to add the stock to your retirement portfolio.

How Does Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) Stack up Against Its Peers?

CSCO has an overall POWR Rating of A, equating to a Strong Buy rating. Check out these other stocks within the Technology – Communication/Networking industry with an A (Strong Buy) rating: AudioCodes Ltd. (AUDC) and Extreme Networks, Inc. (EXTR).

CSCO shares fell $0.04 (-0.08%) in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, CSCO has declined -19.21%, versus a -14.39% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

About the Author: Dipanjan Banchur

Since he was in grade school, Dipanjan was interested in the stock market. This led to him obtaining a master’s degree in Finance and Accounting. Currently, as an investment analyst and financial journalist, Dipanjan has a strong interest in reading and analyzing emerging trends in financial markets.


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