Merrill Lynch Remains Cautious on Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) Amid Competitive Threats

Merrill Lynch analyst Tal Liani is out with a research report on shares of Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) amid analysis of the growing impact of Huawei on Enterprise and Service Provider networking, in the context of how they affect the networking giant.

From Liani’s viewpoint, “At a high level, Cisco’s enterprise business is increasingly squeezed between public cloud and bare-metal adoption, and Huawei adds another layer of pressure.”

Ultimately, even though facing rising competition, the analyst sees that “Cisco is not standing still,” as the tech giant notably is branching out in its investments to new markets to try to maximize the upsurge of programmability of data center as well as of network infrastructure, with Liani underscoring cloud orchestration, automation, and security.

“We believe Cisco is pursuing the right strategy with a very capable management team, and new business lines should grow the company’s TAM and extend the value of legacy business lines; however, it will likely take time for these nascent markets to make a meaningful impact on Cisco’s topline, leading to a low/no-growth scenario in the foreseeable future, in our view,” Liani concludes.

Amid surging headwinds including “the overseas threat from Huawei,” Liani reiterates a Neutral rating on CSCO with a price target of $33, which represents a 5% increase from where the shares last closed. However, the analyst does see these as offset by a dividend yield of 3.3% as well as “solid management execution.”

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, three-star analyst Tal Liani is ranked #1,652 out of 4,183 analysts. Liani has a 51% success rate and gains 1.9% in his yearly returns. When recommending CSCO, Liani realizes 3.7% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics indicate CSCO as a Buy. Based on 27 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 17 rate a Buy on CSCO, 9 maintain a Hold, while 1 issues a Sell. The consensus price target stands at $33.46, marking a nearly 7% upside from where the stock is currently trading.


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