Call it the week for mediocrity rewarded. Yesterday I took a look at Coca-Cola, a company I like that just doesn't seem like a great investment idea.

Reviewing Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) numbers, I feel the need to toss it onto the same pile -- the "thanks, but no thanks," pile. It's not that Cisco's numbers were bad. They were, in fact, quite decent.

Revenue grew 9.3% for the quarter, and earnings per share were up 4.8%. That might sound slim, but since last year's numbers didn't include stock option expenses, and this year's do, the EPS growth comes to 18%. Free cash flow for the first half of the year (and I include acquisitions in capex) comes to $2.7 billion, a 13.2% gain.

Inventory didn't grow much year over year. In fact, it lagged sales growth, which is unusually nice to see in an industry where stale goods are ground up for cattle feed. (Well, maybe not, but they might as well be.) According to the prior-year numbers I get from Capital IQ, inventory turns, at 6.5, were the same as last year. Days sales outstanding moved to 35 days, from 32.2 for the period in 2005. The company has been buying back scads of shares while the price was low.

In other words, this a pretty healthy report from a market-leading company. So why the rainclouds up in the opening paragraph? I just don't think it's cheap enough.

Yes, management is excited about new opportunities in developing technologies such as TV. And yes, I've heard some pretty smart people make a good case for Cisco's bargain status by comparing its current multiple to its historical average multiple. But there comes a time when we need to outgrow that kind of simplistic relativism. Cisco was granted a high multiple for a long time because people expected it to take over the world, and maybe the universe.

Those days are past. Cisco is mature, and there are still hungry competitors like Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR), Nortel (NYSE:NT), and Avaya (NYSE:AV). Now, investors need to evaluate a Cisco purchase by its potential for cash generation, and that's where it comes up short. Even when I grant it some fairly generous growth assumptions, the shares come out of my calculator as fairly valued at $20 each. And if the market's taught me one thing, it's this: There's no point in buying what's not on sale.

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Seth Jayson always holds out for the sale. At the time of publication, he had no positions in any company mentioned here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here . Fool rules are here .