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Cisco delivers strong sales, earnings in first quarter

Cisco Systems delivered predictably strong first-quarter results after the bell Monday, raking in $1.36 billion, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $6.52 billion.

First Call Corp. consensus expected the network-equipment giant to earn 17 cents a share in the quarter.

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) shares closed off $1.63 to $55.13 ahead of the earnings report.

The $6.52 billion in sales marks a 66 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it pocketed $814 million, or 11 cents a share, on sales of $3.92 billion.

"We are very pleased with the solid balance across our major geographies, lines of business, and product families," said CEO John Chambers in a prepared release. "And, while we're proud of our accomplishments over the last decade, we are even more optimistic about the opportunities for Cisco in the next decade."

Most analysts were expecting total sales of around $6.4 billion in the quarter.

Despite its impressive sales and earnings growth this year, Cisco shares have stagnated in 2000, falling from a 52-week high of $82 in March to below $50 last month. Cisco has been dinged by concerns about slowing telecommunications capital spending. Nortel (NYSE: NT) has fallen on growth concerns and Lucent (NYSE: LU) has struggled.

Last quarter, Cisco topped analysts' estimates when it posted a profit of $1.2 billion, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $5.72 billion.

First Call Corp. consensus expects Cisco to earn 75 cents a share in the fiscal year.

Thirty-three of the 35 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."