Wednesday was another strong day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI). The Dow was up 0.69% at 11:30 a.m. EST, even as the coronavirus outbreak that originated in China continued to spread. More than 44,000 cases in China have now been confirmed, and over 1,100 people have succumbed to the disease.
Shares of tech giant Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) rose in the morning as the company prepared to report its quarterly results after market close. Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock was also up, helped along by news of price hikes at the company's California resort.
Cisco reports after market close
Networking hardware giant Cisco is scheduled to report its fiscal second-quarter results this afternoon after the market closes. The stock rose in anticipation, up 1.1% in the morning.
Cisco set the bar low when it issued its guidance as part of its first-quarter report in November. The company expects revenue to drop by 3% to 5% year over year in the second quarter, ending a two-year streak of growth.
Cisco's customer base is sensitive to economic uncertainty. The trade war between the U.S. and China, as well as general angst about the global economy, has led some customers to delay orders. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said during the earnings call that they're seeing "a bit of a pause" from some customers, with some deals pushed back and others downsized.
This is nothing new for Cisco. The last period of weak sales lasted about two years, ending in the second quarter of 2018. Cisco has ramped up its software business and its recurring revenue streams since then, so this cycle may not be quite as bad.
Cisco expects to report non-GAAP (adjusted) earnings per share between $0.75 and $0.77 in the second quarter, up from $0.73 in the prior-year period. The per-share earnings growth will be driven by share buybacks. Cisco spent nearly $22 billion buying back its own shares in fiscal 2019.
Whether Cisco stock rises or falls following the report will likely depend on the company's guidance. If Cisco can sell the idea that this downturn won't be as bad as the last one, that could be enough good news to propel the stock higher. If guidance is weak, the stock could come under some pressure.
Disney raises ticket prices
All eyes have been on Disney's rapidly growing Disney+ streaming service, which is taking on incumbent Netflix with a vast catalog of high-quality content. But it was Disney's parks that were in the news on Wednesday.
Disney is raising admission prices at its Disneyland resort in California. A single peak-day ticket will now set you back $154, up from a previous price of $149. Prices for annual passes were also hiked. The pricey Premier Passport now goes for $2,199, up 13% from one year ago, according to Bloomberg. Disney stock was up 0.6% Wednesday morning.
Disney's parks, experiences, and products segment generated $26.2 billion of revenue in fiscal 2019, up 6%. Higher guest spending was the main growth driver. The company opened its Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attraction at its Florida and California parks last year, which led to increased costs for the parks business.
Disney has shown that it can continue to raise prices without deterring would-be guests from visiting its parks. There is a limit to Disney's pricing power, though. If the company takes the price hikes too far, attendance could suffer.