It's Time to Buy Cisco?
Last week, search engine giant, Google (GOOG) jumped 15% in one day.
About six weeks ago, I wrote a post stating that Google was undervalued by 33%, and worth buying at around $500 per share. Since then it’s jumped to $600, a whopping 20% jump, more if you managed to get in at the low point. Quite a strong move for a large cap stock.
I still think the story for Google is strong, but if I didn’t already own it, I wouldn’t necessarily buy it today. Instead, I’d look for another cheap stock, something a little more boring.
As I wrote about in a previous post on investing in boring stocks, I prefer unloved, boring stocks with no growth prospects over exciting, glamor stocks. Incidentally, the stock I mentioned in that post, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), is up over 10% in the past four months.
One of the stocks I’d consider is Cisco (CSCO).
This tech giant has lost its luster, with the stock price having gone nowhere for the past ten years.
I blame the poor leadership of the CEO, John Chambers, for the stock's performance. But at today’s prices, it probably doesn’t matter how incompetent management is.
Cisco currently trades for $15.66 with a newly introduced dividend yield of 1.50%. It trades for a P/E of 12.2, but more importantly it trades for a P/FCF of only 9.2.
FCF or free-cash-flow is one of my favorite metrics when valuing stocks. It’s the cash left over after all the expenses have been paid out, and capital expenditures have been made. Unlike earnings, free-cash-flow is very hard to manipulate. Over the past decade, even though Cisco’s share price has stagnanted, the free-cash-flow has more than doubled from $4.1 billion to $9.2 billion.
For a stable, profitable market leader like Cisco, ten times free-cash-flow is a great deal. As Warren Buffett indicated in his purchase of Lubrizol, it’s okay to pay 20 times free-cash-flow for a great company.
Cisco also has an incredibly strong balance sheet, with about $40 billion in cash or $7.80 per share in cash – that’s almost half of its stock value.
Even though Cisco faces increasing competition and has a penchant for wasting money on acquisitions that don’t seem to make any sense, it still has a wide economic moat. Cisco makes devices that move internet traffic, and the amount of internet traffic is increasing every day.
It’s only a matter of time before Cisco becomes a $25 stock again.