Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) stands to benefit from demographic and technology macro trends.
I view it as a good long-term investment but shares currently appear to be fully valued, if not slightly overvalued. I suggest investors be patient and wait for shares to retrace to more attractive valuation levels.
- CSCO provides essential network architecture for business, government and the Internet of Things.
- It should benefit from demographic and technology macro trends, such as a growing global middle class and 5G wireless.
- Shift to more of a software and subscription-based offering strategy improves revenue predictability.
- CSCO is a great company but the stock appears to fully fairly valued, if not slightly overvalued.
‘While I certainly like CSCO and the strategic direction it is taking I do not view this as an opportune time to acquire shares. I am of the opinion a broad market pullback is not out of the realm of possibility within the next 6 – 12 months and will patiently wait on the sidelines.’
With the recent release of Q3 and YTD results and Q4 guidance I now take a brief look at CSCO and provide my opinion on its valuation.
Q3 and YTD 2019 Financial Results and Q4 Guidance
Once again, there has been no change to CSCO’s credit ratings. Moody’s rates CSCO’s long-term debt A1 (top tier of the upper medium grade range) and S&P Global rates it AA- (bottom tier of the high grade range).
I have no reason to suspect CSCO will be unable to service its obligations.
Dividend and Dividend Yield
CSCO’s dividend and stock split history can be found here.
A more detailed review of these topics was covered in my March 13, 2019 article.
In my March 13th article I indicated that CSCO generated $1.40 in diluted EPS in the first half of FY2019 and guidance for Q3 was $0.63 - $0.68. Using the $0.655 mid-point of that range and the same mid-point for Q4 I anticipated that CSCO would generate ~$2.71 in FY2019.
We now know that CSCO’s Q3 results exceeded guidance. Diluted Q3 GAAP EPS came in at $0.69/share and YTD GAAP EPS came in at $2.09. Q4 guidance is for GAAP EPS of $0.66 - $0.71.
With CSCO trading at $56.52 and full year GAAP EPS guidance of $2.75 - $2.80 we get a forward diluted PE range of ~20.19 - ~20.55. At the time of my March 13th article the forward diluted PE was ~19.41.
When I compare CSCO’s current valuation to historical levels on the basis of diluted EPS I am of the opinion that CSCO is currently richly valued.
In my opinion, a forward diluted PE of ~18 is reasonable. With full year GAAP EPS guidance of $2.75 - $2.80 we arrive at a price slightly below $50.
Let’s compare CSCO’s current valuation relative to historical valuation on the basis of non-GAAP EPS.
February 15, 2017 article - CSCO was trading at $32.82 and forward adjusted EPS guidance was ~$2.34 giving us a forward adjusted PE of ~14.
May 19, 2018 article - CSCO was trading at $43.21 and forward adjusted EPS guidance was ~$2.48 giving us a forward adjusted PE of ~17.42.
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Disclosure: I am long CSCO.
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