Cisco - Prepared To Weather The Coming Tech Storm

| About: Cisco Systems, (CSCO)

Like the rest of the stock market this week, the price of most tech stocks started to slide. Though fingers were being pointed everywhere for who was to blame for the U.S. government shutdown, the political decision has been leading to plenty of far-reaching and unintended consequences, including a declining market.

The unexpected market actions have put more pressure on Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) to perform. The company known for routers, hardware and network solutions has a long track record of general success but has had been a little rocky over the last few months as it tried to re-establish itself in a changing economy.

Recently, the company indicated that the developing environment in China forced it to revise its overall revenue forecast for the year, from 5-7 percent to 2-5 percent.

Company leaders felt this softening of international markets was tough, but could be propped up by steady growth from the West - it receives 80 percent of its revenue from North America and Europe.

However, fresh turmoil in the overall U.S. markets may make this bet a little less secure, and create a less positive outlook the longer the government funding issue remains unresolved.

Interestingly, though there may be some tough times ahead for many American companies, Cisco may have a head start on weathering a coming storm. It recently cut 5 percent of its workforce, roughly 4,000 jobs, so it can be a little more lean and competitive.

These cuts follow the loss of 500 jobs last spring, and 6,500 jobs that were trimmed in 2012 as an expense-cutting effort.

Its share prices are in a decline right now, but still not as low as they were last spring.

Yahoo! Finance said its 52-week low was trading in the low $20 range around the start of 2013, a gentle recovery from the $15 range last fall. In June 2013, it had a great jump up to $24 a share, and it reached as high as $26 a share before its current slide that started in August. It's back down to $23 at the beginning of October.

Minyanville gave it an Outperform rating Oct. 1, calling it a high quality and inexpensive, and a great value for investors.

However, two weeks prior, Credit Suisse gave it an Underperform rating, issuing a $21 price target that didn't come close to the $24.80 closing price. Analysts thought the company had some vulnerabilities, and that revenue from new services it hoped to add to its product offerings wouldn't make a significant difference to larger diminishing profits.

Market watchers thought this change in coverage could cause the company's stock to lose 15 percent of its value.

Cisco has been getting some praise in other quarters for its willingness to keep looking forward to future technology needs.

CEO John Chambers has been sharing the message that application infrastructure is going to define the networking landscape in the near and far future.

Speaking as the keynote presenter at the Ethernet & SDN Expo, he said Cisco and its competitors need to ride this wave and be ready to support it with hardware; otherwise wipe-outs will take place. reported that Chambers said Cisco expects 77 billion app downloads in 2014 in every form, from smart phones to tablets to sensors.

Not too long ago, Cisco was about everything but mobile options, Chambers said. But the company decided to this is where consumers wanted to go so the technology also had to head in the direction of an app economy.

This led to making all sorts of infrastructure projects available, from more Wi-Fi options to wireless LAN options.

The company also recently refined its structure, by splitting its service provider into two units: SP Video Software and Solutions and SP Video Infrastructure Operations. Multichannel reports this will help the company prepare for upcoming changes, especially on the service and customer relations sides.

It just announced two valuable partnerships: it will work with Portugal Telecom (NYSE:PT) to offer Smart+Connected solutions and service in Europe; and with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) to offer free Wi-Fi service at public spots in New York.

So Cisco is ready for something, whether it's to hold its market share against hungry competitors or withstand larger economic turmoil. Investors are also invited to join in the ride, but to hold on tight.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.