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Cisco boosts 2001 targets

Shares of Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) traded lower in afterhours Monday after the company's first quarter earnings report, although the company told analysts to raise their expectations for the rest of the fiscal year.

Cisco stock fell to 54.6875 in afterhours activity on the Island electronic communications network, following the network equipment giant's first quarter report. Cisco shares fell 1.625 to 55.125 in Monday's regular session prior to the release of first quarter results.

During its quarterly conference call with analysts Monday, the network equipment vendor said it sees fiscal 2001 earnings per share 2 to 5 cents higher than current analyst estimates. Published full year forecasts currently range between 71 and 81 cents per share, with a consensus prediction of 75 cents per share, according to First Call.

Cisco CFO Larry Carter also told analysts to plan for higher-than-expected revenue in the second quarter, ending December. The company sees bookings rising sequentially in the high single digits or low double digits, on a percentage basis.

For the full fiscal year, Cisco is targeting revenue growth of 50 to 60 percent, Carter said. Analysts were looking for 2001 revenue growth of about 50 percent.

Those comments came following Cisco's first quarter report.

Cisco 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.

Shares 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.

Lucent's troubles have helped Cisco, executives of the latter suggested. "These large competitors have clearly given Cisco the opportunity to repeat our breakaway in the enterprise market in the service-provider market," Chambers said Monday.

Cisco executives said they still see strong demand for data transmission equipment from communications service providers. However, company officials did allude to a slowdown in spending for broadband equipment. Cisco expects that slowdown to be temporary, Chambers said.

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.>