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Dow Jones News: Cisco Tumbles on Weak Outlook; Walmart Keeps Growing

By Timothy Green – Nov 14, 2019 at 4:09PM

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Cisco's customers are grappling with uncertainty, but Walmart is having no trouble growing sales.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.00%) was dragged down by Cisco Systems (CSCO 1.55%) on Thursday, with the index lower by 0.11% at 2:15 p.m. EST. Cisco reported solid fiscal first-quarter results, but its guidance predicted a steep revenue decline.

Also lower on Thursday was Walmart (WMT 0.43%), despite another positive report from the retailer. Walmart continued to grow comparable sales in the third quarter, and its e-commerce business is still booming. But that wasn't quite enough to propel the stock higher.

Cisco provides a troubling outlook

Global economic uncertainty is starting to have a significant impact on networking hardware giant Cisco. The company produced better-than-expected results for its fiscal first quarter, but it guided for a revenue decline as some customers delayed placing orders. Cisco stock was down 7.9% as investors digested the lackluster outlook.

Cisco's first-quarter revenue grew by 2% to $13.2 billion, excluding divestitures, and adjusted earnings per share shot up 12% to $0.84. Both numbers were ahead of analyst expectations, but Cisco's growth streak will come to an end in the second quarter, with the company predicting a 3% to 5% revenue decline.

Data cables plugged into server equipment

Image source: Getty Images.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins talked on the earnings call about customers hitting the pause button. Product orders were down globally, and orders slumped from enterprise, commercial, and service-provider customers. Emerging markets were particularly weak, with product orders down 13% overall, and down 26% in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) markets, plus Mexico.

This downturn for Cisco could be worse than the last one (from early 2016 through late 2017), given the trade war between the U.S. and China, and the possibility of major economies entering recession. On the other hand, Cisco's progress growing its software and subscription-based businesses could insulate the company to a degree from volatile product demand.

One thing is for sure: Cisco's results aren't going to look pretty for at least a few quarters.

Walmart reports strong results

Shares of megaretailer Walmart were down 0.9% despite a generally positive third-quarter report. Walmart stock has soared this year, up nearly 30%, so this may be a case of the stock getting a little ahead of the fundamentals.

Walmart reported third-quarter revenue of $128 billion, up 2.5% year over year and in line with analyst expectations. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.16, ahead of analyst estimates by $0.07 and up from $1.08 in the prior-year period.

Comparable-store sales rose 3.2% in the U.S., with Walmart gaining market share in food and consumables. U.S. e-commerce sales jumped 41% year over year, driven by the company's online grocery business. Walmart offers free online grocery pickup from more than 3,000 locations, as well as same-day grocery delivery from 1,400 locations.

For the full fiscal year, Walmart now expects its adjusted earnings per share to increase slightly. Excluding the impact from Flipkart, adjusted EPS will be up by a high single-digit percentage.

While Walmart stock isn't cooperating on Thursday, the company continues to put up strong numbers.

Timothy Green owns shares of Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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