Who says you can’t have it all? Indeed, Cisco Systems (CSCO) offers a nice combo platter of growth, value and income, asserts Chuck Carlson, dividend reinvestment specialist and editor of DRIP Investor.
Investors who want a solid total-return stock in the tech sector should consider Cisco Systems. Earnings should be up in 2023 and 2024, the stock trades at just 13 times fiscal 2024 earnings estimates, and the current dividend yield is 3%.
Cisco Systems designs, manufactures, and sells Internet Protocol based networking equipment to the communications and information technology sectors. Products include switching products used in data centers and cloud security products.
After a lengthy period of little or no growth, Cisco has been putting up good growth numbers of late. In the fiscal fourth quarter, revenue grew 16%, while per-share earnings advanced 37%. For fiscal 2023 overall, revenue rose 11% on a 16% increase in per-share profits.
The strong revenue and earnings growth in the fiscal fourth quarter was driven by solid customer demand, market-share gains, and innovation in key areas, like artificial intelligence, security, and cloud. Total software revenue was up 17% in the quarter, with software subscription revenue up 20% year over year.
While growth may moderate in fiscal 2024, Cisco should still show gains in the top and bottom lines. The firm expects per-share profits for the fiscal year to come in between $4.01 and $4.08. Based on the low end of that guidance range, the shares trade at just 13 times fiscal 2024 earnings. That is a rather modest earnings multiple to pay for an industry leader.
Like virtually every information technology company, Cisco will try to capitalize on the growth of AI. One area where AI could provide real growth opportunities for the firm is the company’s cybersecurity business.
The history of the technology sector is filled with companies that were once leaders that were crushed by innovation. But there are a few stories in which “old” technology companies reinvented themselves, fueling huge gains in the stock price.
Cisco has the feel of an old player that is making the necessary changes to continue to be relevant in the technology markets of tomorrow. And those adjustments should drive a higher stock price over time. In the meantime, investors collect a nice and rising dividend stream.
True, technology stocks have been getting beaten up, and Cisco is trading off its 52-week high of just over $58 per share. Still, the stock can post decent gains into the end of the year. Please note Cisco Systems offers a direct-purchase plan whereby any investor may buy the first share and every share directly from the company.