Shares of old-guard networking hardware giant Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) are trading up about 1% on Friday morning at $43.51 following an upbeat note from a team of analysts on the Street who expect the tech stock to outperform the broader market amid a surge in volatility. (See also: Cisco Could Be the Next Microsoft, Says Bernstein.)
CSCO reflects a 13.6% jump year-to-date (YTD) and a 28.1% incline over the most recent 12 months, outperforming the S&P 500's 1.1% dip and 12.6% return over the same respective periods. Investors have applauded the San Jose, California-based company's transition away from legacy hardware businesses to high-growth segments such as cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise collaboration. The shift has garnered more subscription-based and recurring revenue streams for the tech titan as it wards off competition from newer cloud-based rivals such as Arista Networks Inc. (ANET).
On Friday, analysts at Goldman Sachs added Cisco to their conviction buy list, citing strong demand and tax reform benefits. Goldman's Rod Hall lifted his 12-month price target on shares to $54 from $51, reflecting a near 25% upside from Friday morning.
Gaining From Tax Overhaul, Improving End Markets
"As market volatility increases we also see Cisco as relatively defensive in our sector," wrote Hall in a note to clients on Friday. "Cisco's end markets remain healthy and improving."
Goldman is also upbeat on the GOP tax bill passed late last year, which slashed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and incentivized repatriation of overseas cash, freeing up billions for some of America's most powerful tech corporations, including Cisco.
"We expect Cisco to deliver significant returns to shareholders from the recently enacted tax laws. Indeed, the company has already announced a $25 billion increase to share repurchase authorization and hiked its dividend payout ratio to nearly 50 percent," wrote Hall. (See also: Cisco to Rise 10% on Positive News: Piper Jaffray.)