Shares of technology bellwether Cisco Systems Inc
The company posted fourth-quarter revenue below expectations and forecast weaker-than-expected first-quarter revenue, raising fears that the budding recovery in technology spending could be upset.
We are concerned that the macro uncertainty will weigh on revenues, and the stock, over the next few quarters, BMO Capital Markets said in a note to clients.
It saw no catalyst to boost Cisco shares in the near future.
The brokerage cut its rating on the stock to market perform from outperform and said Cisco's long-term goal of 12-17 percent growth did not look achievable.
Cisco said orders had slowed in late June to early July, but ramped again at the very end of the fourth quarter.
Higher component costs due to supply shortages hurt margins and though supply conditions were improving, they still remained challenging, Cisco said.
While we think this pressure will ultimately ease, we are concerned that the move to consumer and more aggressive competition will make it difficult to recapture gross margins, BMO said.
The brokerage added that the aggressive addition of headcount could prove risky for Cisco given the tenuous global macro position and shaky customer sentiment.
Cisco added about 2100 people to its workforce in the fourth quarter. The company, which ended the quarter with 70,714 employees, is planning to add over 3000 people in the next several quarters.
Shares of the San Jose, California-based company were trading down $1.85 at $21.88 in pre-market trading. They closed at $23.73 Wednesday on Nasdaq.
Following is a table of price target cuts on the stock:
(Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)