Shares of network computing giant Cisco Systems were down 9 percent Thursday after the company reported solid earnings but issued a forecast that failed to meet analysts' expectations.
Cisco CEO John Chamber said during a conference call late Wednesday that a "hesitant spending environment" was lengthening the amount of time it takes to close a deal with customers. It's also reducing the size of deals, he said.
"There are areas in the macroeconomic environment that we cannot control, and they may impact Cisco's near-term business," Chambers said.
Cisco is one of the Triangle's largest technology employers, with more than 5,000 employees and contractors at its Research Triangle Park campus as of March. Last year the company cut thousands of employees worldwide in its effort to lower annual operating expenses by about $1 billion.
Cisco's forecast for the current quarter that ends in July is revenue growth of 2 percent to 5 percent. At the high end that would amount to $11.8 billion -- less than the $12 billion forecast by analysts, Bloomberg reported.
Matt Robison, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities, pointed a finger at the economy.
"We've had some pretty squishy economic data in recent weeks, and you've always got to brace for some caveats in the outlook commentary from a company like Cisco," Robison told Bloomberg News.
Cisco reported after the markets closed Wednesday that for its fiscal third quarter that ended April 28, revenue totaled $11.6 billion, up 7 percent and in line with analysts' expectations. Net income rose 20 percent to $2.2 billion.
Cisco shares were trading at $17.14, down $1.64, late Thursday morning. Shares hit their 52-week high of $21.19 last month.