Something Is Very Wrong With This Picture

Just because very few actually understood the severity of the Cisco earnings guidance, in which the company forecast an 8-10% drop (let's call it 9%) in quarterly revenues when Wall Street was expecting a 4% increase, we have compiled and presented in chart form the historical and projected quarterly revenue data for CSCO to show today's preannouncement in all its gruesome context.

A few points:

  • The current quarter, in which revenues missed expectations of $12.4 billion by $300 million, while bad, was still a year-over-year increase of 1.8%.
  • It is the next quarter that is a true stunner because while Goldman Sachs (which has the company at a Conviction Buy rating with a $30 price target) was expecting a print of $12.9 billion, taking the midline of CSCO's guide-down, Cisco now expects to make a paltry $11 billion, the lowest amount since early 2011, which would make the next quarter, ending January 2014, the biggest miss to expectations in company history.
  • In sequential terms, the drop in revenue next quarter would amount to just over $1 billion, a topline crash second only to the $1.2 billion sequential collapse in the quarter when Lehman filed and the modern financial system as we know it nearly ended.
  • There is simply no way that the company will be able to grow into its current projected revenue growth range as this quarter will mean a dramatic change to the topline trendline

And while another massive buyback is just what the adjusted EPS doctor ordered, should CSCO experience just one more quarter such as the forecast, things will get very ugly not just for revenue, which it is quite obvious is no longer growing anywhere, but for the bottom line.

In short: while the markets may not represent it, because the markets stopped reflecting reality some time in 2009, something is suddenly seriously broken not only with the global demand picture, but the entire world economy as well.