Cisco, Fed On Deck

Earnings from Cisco Systems and the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting on interest rates will dominate financial headlines this week.

Cisco will report its quarterly results after the close on Tuesday, and investors can be forgiven for expecting more from the company than analysts have predicted. The networking giant has beaten estimates for eight consecutive quarters; you have to go back to February 2005 to find a quarter where Cisco merely met estimates.

And with Cisco one of the biggest beneficiaries of exploding demand for bandwidth, Wall Street estimates of 33-cents-a-share earnings and 20% sales growth to $8.76 billion may not be high enough.

Also this week, the Fed will issue its latest policy statement on interest rates Wednesday afternoon. The Fed is expected to leave rates unchanged, but investors are hoping the Fed will acknowledge the slowing economy, leaving the door open for interest rate cuts later this year.

Tech stocks were mixed Monday ahead of Cisco’s results, while blue chips got a boost from Alcoa’s bid to acquire Alcan .

Entegris fell on its results, while Dell added 1% on an open source deal.

Apple rose 3% on news that it could raise iTunes prices, while Amazon fell 4% on profit-taking.

The Nasdaq lost 1 to 2570, the S&P 500 climbed 4 to 1509, and the Dow rose 48 to 13,312. Volume declined to 2.55 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.75 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancing issues led by a 17-14 margin on the NYSE, while decliners led 16-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 62% on the NYSE, and 44% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 300-15 on the NYSE, and 167-51 on the Nasdaq.

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