Cisco Comes Through

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) atoned for a difficult quarter three months ago with better than expected results and guidance late Tuesday.

Cisco’s April quarter sales grew 10.4% to $9.8 billion, ahead of $9.75 billion estimates, and pro forma earnings of 36 cents a share were two cents better than expected. The networking giant forecast 9-10% sales growth for the current quarter, which compares favorably to 9.2% estimates, according to Thomson Financial.

Surprisingly strong sales in Japan helped Cisco overcome weakness in the U.S. and Europe. CEO John Chambers said on the company’s conference call that he thinks the U.S. downturn will be short-lived.

While not as strong as the company’s growth in recent years — and below the company’s long-term growth goal of 12-17% — the results and guidance were good enough for a slight gain in after-hours trading.

The broader market rose in Tuesday’s regular trading session, led by financial shares and hope that Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) may yet arrive at a deal with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). Yahoo shares gained 5.5% after the company said it’s open to further talks with Microsoft and major shareholders said they would accept an offer closer to Microsoft’s $33 a share bid. Microsoft shares rose 2%.

AMD (NYSE: AMD) jumped 9% on hopes for a restructuring plan.

Qwest (NYSE: Q) and MetroPCS (NYSE: PCS) fell on their results.

The Nasdaq rose 19 to 2483, the S&P gained 10 to 1418, and the Dow added 51 to 13,020. Volume rose to 3.85 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.21 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 21-12 margin on the NYSE, and 17-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 68% on the NYSE, and 76% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 111-70 on the NYSE, and 64-108 on the Nasdaq.

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