Source: Cisco.

Networking equipment giant Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) just reported results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2014. Investors liked what they saw, bidding Cisco shares more than 7% higher in after-hours trading.

Sales decreased 5.5% year over year to land at $11.5 billion. Adjusted earnings stayed flat at $0.51 per share.

Analysts were looking for earnings of $0.48 per share on roughly $11.4 billion in sales, and Cisco exceeded both of these targets.

Product sales decreased 7.7% from the year-ago period, while service revenue increased by 2.6%. Cisco's book-to-bill ratio was "comfortably above 1," indicating a strong order flow and visibility into revenues in upcoming quarters.

Cisco saw respectable year-over-year growth in key markets such as data center products and Sourcefire security solutions. Europe and North America delivered single-digit growth, but traditional high-growth markets such as the BRIC bloc declined.

"Our financial results exceeded the guidance we provided last quarter as we demonstrated clear progress on returning to growth," said Cisco CEO John Chambers in a prepared statement. "The entire team is focused on moving Cisco forward aggressively and we remain confident in our long-term goal to be the #1 IT company."

Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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