Cisco stock rises after earnings top expectations

Cisco Systems Inc. shares advanced in the extended session Wednesday after the networking giant’s earnings topped Wall Street estimates, even as services revenue fell short of the consensus view for a third quarter in a row.

Cisco

CSCO, -1.75%

 shares were up 3.1% in recent after-hours trading, following a 1.8% decline to close the regular session at $44.33, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.81%

which counts Cisco as a component, and the S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.76%

 both finished down 0.8% Wednesday and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, -0.90%

 declined 0.9%.

The San Jose, Calif., company reported fiscal first-quarter net income of $3.55 billion, or 77 cents a share, compared with $2.39 billion, or 48 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings were 75 cents a share. On average, analysts expected Cisco to post adjusted earnings of 72 cents a share, according to FactSet, and the company had forecast earnings of 70 cents to 72 cents a share.

Revenue rose to $13.07 billion from $12.14 billion in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street expected revenue of $12.86 billion, while Cisco had forecast $12.74 billion to $12.99 billion.

Read: Cisco and Amazon partner on hybrid-cloud approach

By segment, Cisco topped estimates in most categories except services revenue, marking the third quarter in a row sevices revenue fell short of the Street view. Services revenue was $3.18 billion, while analysts polled by FactSet were looking for $3.21 billion.

Cisco reported product revenue of $9.89 billion, while analysts expected $9.63 billion. Of that, infrastructure platform revenue was $7.62 billion while analysts were looking for $7.4 billion, applications revenue clocked in at $1.42 billion versus the $1.35 billion Street view, security revenue came in at $651 million when analysts estimated $648.1 million, while sales of “other products” were $178 million versus the $240.1 million Street view.

For the second quarter, Cisco projected adjusted earnings of 71 cents to 73 cents a share on 5% to 7% year-over-year revenue growth, or $12.48 billion to $12.72 billion, while analysts on average forecast 72 cents a share on revenue of $12.54 billion, according to FactSet. Cisco said its outlook includes divestiture of its Service Provider Video Software Solutions unit, which may not have been taken into account in some analyst estimates.

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The best Amazon Black Friday deals of 2018: Echoes, TCL TVs, and more

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA Today’s newsroom and any business incentives.

Black Friday is slowly approaching, and if you hate heading to the stores, Amazon might be one of your favorite options for getting deals without leaving your couch (or bed, no judgment). The site already has plenty of deals every single day, but things really start to heat up as we get closer to Black Friday, when they’ll really take off (but Cyber Monday Amazon deals will likely be even better). Although we don’t yet know which sellers on Amazon will be having sales, we do know there will be great deals on Amazon devices like Echoes, Fire TVs, Fire Tablets, and more. Our shopping experts have already been searching for the best Black Friday deals you can get from retailers in stores and online, and Amazon right now .

The best Black Friday 2018 deals on Amazon right now

  1. TCL 55-In. Roku 4K Smart TV (2017)—$349.99 on Amazon (Save $30): With 4K and Roku’s streaming platform built in, you really can’t find a better deal on a low-end big screen TV. At this low sale price, we love this TV, especially for secondary viewing areas like bedrooms, kitchens, or playrooms. It usually costs $380, and originally retailed for $450. Check out all the other best Black Friday TV deals.
  2. Ecovacs Deebot 601—$179.98 on Amazon (Save $20) with the code “GHPOSR98: The Deebot 601 is the improved version of the N79S, which is the improved version of the N79, which we rated as one of the best affordable smart robot vacuums. It connects to your phone AND you can control it with Alexa. This deal is good through 11/19.
  3. Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance 2-Bulb Starter Kit—$99.99 on Amazon (Save $50): These are the best smart bulbs we’ve ever tested. They’re back down to they’re lowest price and are perfect for adding some festive color to your holiday party.
  4. Staub 5.5-Qt. Round Cocotte Oven—$259.95 on Amazon (Save $65): Staub outperformed Le Creuset in our tests, so we’re thrilled to see this cocotte for such a great sale price.
  5. 23andMe DNA Kit—$69 on Amazon (Save $30): This was one of the hottest items for Black Friday 2017, so it’s no surprise we’re already seeing the price drop.If you’re thinking if gifting this to someone, get it early because it sold out fast last year.

Amazon’s Black Friday sales on Amazon devices will begin on Friday, Nov. 16 with new deals going live almost daily through Wednesday, Nov. 22. Most every one of the brand’s Echoes, Fire TVs, Fire Tablets, and more will be discounted. We’re especially excited for the sales on the new Echo Dot and the new Kindle Paperwhite, but here’s the line-up of everything that’s being discounted:

Starting Friday, Nov. 16:

Starting Sunday, Nov. 18:

Starting Wednesday, Nov. 21:

Starting Thursday, Nov. 22:

Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered this holiday season. Follow Reviewed on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/reviewedcom/2018/11/14/best-amazon-black-friday-deals-2018-echoes-tcl-tvs-and-more/38526211/

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Berkshire invests in JPMorgan, Oracle as Buffett puts cash to work

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Wednesday said it had taken stakes in JPMorgan Chase & Co, Oracle Corp and Travelers Cos, as the conglomerate puts some of its large cash hoard to work.

FILE PHOTO: Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, pauses while playing bridge as part of the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska U.S. May 6, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

As of Sept. 30, Berkshire owned about $4.02 billion of stock in JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets, where one of Buffett’s investment managers, Todd Combs, is a board member.

Berkshire said it also owned about $2.13 billion of Oracle stock and $460 million of Travelers stock.

The holdings were disclosed in a regulatory filing detailing Berkshire’s U.S.-listed stock investments as of Sept. 30, after a quarter in which the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate spent $17.7 billion on equities.

The JPMorgan investment closes a notable hole in Berkshire’s stock portfolio, which already contained large investments in other financial services companies, including American Express Co, Bank of America Corp, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, US Bancorp and Wells Fargo & Co.

Buffett has long praised the leadership of JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, and over the last year partnered with him and Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Jeff Bezos to create a new company aiming to cut U.S. employee healthcare costs.

Atul Gawande, a surgeon and critic of medical industry practices, was named in June to lead the venture.

Buffett, Combs and another portfolio manager, Ted Weschler, handle Berkshire’s investments.

While the filing did not say who bought which stocks, larger investments are normally made by Buffett, who often buys stock when he cannot find whole businesses to purchase.

Those stocks include Apple Inc, in which Berkshire said earlier this month it had a $57.6 billion stake.

Berkshire has more than 90 units in the insurance, energy, food and retail, industrial, railroad and other sectors. But Buffett has not completed a major acquisition since January 2016.

Despite the stock purchases, Berkshire ended September with $103.6 billion of cash and equivalents.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Dan Grebler

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How Macy’s Is Contending With Fewer Sears and JC Penney Stores in Malls

With Sears (shld) now in bankruptcy protection and J.C. Penney (jcp) struggling again, Macy’s (m) is being forced to rethink how it operates its stores in the malls it co-anchors with those rivals.

Sears filed for bankruptcy protection last month, announcing yet another round of store closings en masse, and Bon-Ton liquidated earlier this year, while Penney is struggling to tread water despite shuttering 140 weak stores in 2017. The malls that those chains left but where Macy’s still has a store have practically become ghost towns: while counterintuitive, the disappearance of rival retailers that anchor a mall hurts Macy’s since it means less overall shopper traffic.

To address that problem, Macy’s on Wednesday said it was creating a three-tier classification of its 600-plus stores that determines how much investment they will get. Stores in weak malls and centers where Macy’s is the last department store standing will typically be part of the subset designated as “neighborhood” stores by the company.

Concretely that means they will continue to get investments like better lighting, flooring and fixtures, but on a much more modest scale than other Macy’s locations. The idea is that those stores—while under-performing—are nonetheless profitable and worth keeping. But the state of the malls they inhabit mean Macy’s should’t warrant anything more extensive or lavish.

“We are experiencing [that trend] at our malls where we’re the only anchor left and that has really informed our neighborhood store strategy,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told Fortune. “Such stores are typically used for trips to replenish basics rather than explore and look for new fashion, which customers do by going to a better Macy’s,” Gennette said. The neighborhood stores will be shrunk in size by about 20% and have fewer staff.

Still, Gennette says that the stores still have to be up to a certain standard. Such neighborhood stores will include self-service checkout and self-serve shoe sections. Crucially these stores are key to supporting Macy’s red-hot e-commerce growth and will offer online order pickup and returns handling like all stores do,

“There might not be enough reason to come to the balance of the mall so you’ve got to give them enough reasons to come to your store,” Gennette said.

Stores in the next tier up, Macy’s so-called “magnet” stores, will get a lot more investment. Some 50 of those stores have been part of Macy’s “Growth50” project, where it has tested new merchandising and presentation ideas at specific stores to quickly see what works and is worth rolling out to more stores. Those stores will get more involved facelifts, more staffing, offer a wider variety of merchandise, including in many stores, more high-end merchandise. At some locations, Macy’s has tested things like lockers to retrieve online orders. Another 100 Macy’s will get that treatment in 2019.

The highest tier stores includes Macy’s Herald Square million-square-foot store in Manhattan and ten more locations like Union Square in San Francisco.

The idea of smaller stores is one that is growing in retail. Kohl’s, for one, is also reducing the inventory at many stores to de-clutter them and down the line, carve out space to sublet to other retailers like grocers that generate frequent store visits. Nordstrom and Target are among the others rolling out smaller locations.

Macy’s, often slammed for store clutter, is already showing signs of progress: In a research note on Wednesday, GlobalData Retail said that its research found that 67% of customers this rated shopping at Macy’s as “good or very good,” up from 59% a year ago.

That helps explain why Macy’s rebound seems to gaining steam. The department store chain reported that comparable sales rose 3.1% in the third quarter, the fourth quarter of growth in a row and well above Wall Street forecasts for 2.2% growth, according to Consensus Metrix. And it raised its full year forecast just as the crucial holiday is getting underway, one for which Gennette said Macy’s is ready.

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