For tech stocks, the second week of November was relatively quiet. Networking giant Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) reported earnings, but it was generally a calm week for tech stocks on the earnings front. Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) was one of the more volatile tech movers, experiencing notable swings in the wake of its analyst day.
Although it didn't have much of an effect on stock prices, a renewed push for net neutrality provoked official responses from most of the major telecoms, some of which began offering Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) newest smartphone this week.
Cisco beats estimates
Cisco reported earnings on Wednesday, slightly exceeding analyst expectations. In its fiscal first quarter, Cisco earned an adjusted $0.54 per share on revenue of $12.24 billion. Analysts had been expecting the company to earn $0.53 on revenue of around $12.16 billion.
Cisco shares rose after the report, but only modestly; the company's guidance may have tempered enthusiasm for the stock. Next quarter, Cisco expects to earn between $0.50 and $0.52 per share while analysts had been looking for $0.53 per share. Cisco's outlook for revenue was also a bit disappointing, with its projection of 4%-7% growth coming in short of the 8.40% consensus estimate.
Alongside its earnings report, Cisco announced that its CFO would be stepping down at the end of the year: Frank Calderoni will be replaced by current Cisco VP Kelly Kramer.
Twitter's analyst day
In the wake of its earnings report, Cisco shares rose more than 2%, but that gain was modest compared to the move in shares of social networking giant Twitter. Shares surged on Wednesday, only to give back virtually all of their gains on Thursday as investors digested the news from Twitter's analyst day.
Twitter has been an immense disappointment this year, as the stock has lost nearly 40% of its value. The company has struggled to add users as fast as investors wanted, and some have begun to question its management team. During its analyst day, Twitter revealed a number of new initiatives it has planned. Most center around efforts to drive further engagement.
In an effort to expand, management hopes to make it easier to understand and use the social network, offering new users an instant timeline of tweets delivered to them even before they follow anyone. It also plans a more focused effort on video, with new tools that make it easy to edit and share clips on the site. Enhanced messaging is a priority, and Twitter also is working on a range of tools for developers. Changes to its core product are planned, including a "while you were away" feature that offers up a curated list of relevant tweets.
It remains to be seen if these changes will have a positive impact on Twitter's business, but investors should at least be optimistic that the company's management is being proactive.
Obama pushes for net neutrality
President Obama called on the FCC to regulate Internet service providers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, essentially turning ISPs into utilities, and subjecting them to further regulation. It's something proponents of the open Internet have long clamored for, but the announcement sparked a backlash among companies that would be affected.
In a blog post, Comcast came out in favor of net neutrality in principle, but criticized Title II regulation. AT&T went further, announcing that it would halt its investments in high-speed fiber.
Critics argue that Title II regulation would slow or even stifle Internet innovation, though it's difficult to say if it will happen. Despite Obama's request, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler distanced himself from the White House, noting that the FCC was an independent agency. Nevertheless, it's something telecom investors should be aware of.
The Nexus 6 makes its sales debut
Comcast doesn't offer smartphone service, but AT&T does. This week, AT&T and its wireless rivals began offering Google's new handset, the Nexus 6. Unlike previous Nexus models, the Nexus 6 is a high-end, expensive flagship. It's one of the largest smartphones on the market, sporting a massive 5.9-inch screen.
Unfortunately for investors, Google has not released sales data on its previous Nexus devices, making their success difficult to discern. That may change with the Nexus 6, but seems unlikely. Still, it's an important phone.
With a stripped down, stock version of Android, the Nexus 6 is one of the more Google-centric smartphones on the market, with deep integration with Google's many online services, and no manufacturer apps to get in the way of Google's own. Reviews have generally been positive, and if the Nexus proves to be a hit, it could weigh on the demand for competing flagships like the Note 4 and the iPhone 6 Plus.