SAN FRANCISCO Investors spooked by a steep sell-off in enterprise tech stocks will get a fresh glimpse of the health of technology spending on Wednesday when bellwether Cisco Systems Inc posts its quarterly results.
The networking equipment maker is the largest of several companies reporting this week that have benefited from the trend toward information technology (IT) delivered over the Internet, widely known as cloud computing. But Cisco relies heavily on demand from China and other developing countries whose economies have been losing steam.
Stocks of companies selling cloud computing and data analytics fell for a second session on Monday after Tableau Software Inc last week disappointed investors with a weak revenue forecast.
Analysts for year have been hyping companies in cloud computing and "Big Data," which refers to the analysis of growing amounts of stored data, and investors are becoming more critical of the valuations on such stocks.
Cisco's stock was unchanged on Monday while shares of other enterprise technology companies reporting this week fell sharply.
Along with Tableau's disappointing report, Monday's poor revenue forecast from IT services provider Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp stood in contrast to relatively upbeat reports from Microsoft Corp and SAP SE , leaving investors uncertain about the broad health of IT spending.
Cisco is expected to report a 1.5 percent drop in revenue for the January-ended quarter, according to Thomson Reuters, but investors fear the current quarter could be worse.
"If Cisco gets up and says 'We're worried about macro conditions in emerging markets hurting overall demand for technology', that's a big wet blanket on the branded IT companies," said Needham & Company analyst Alex Henderson.
Global IT spending dropped 6 percent in 2015 and it will grow less than 1 percent this year, according to market research firm Gartner.
Other companies in the spotlight this week include Akamai Technologies Inc, whose customers include Audi and MTV Networks. Late Tuesday, it is expected to report a 6 percent rise in fourth-quarter revenue, its smallest quarterly growth since at least 2010.
"We have a market that's absolutely in a risk-off mode and given the heightened uncertainty around the name, there's a lot of fear," said Evercore analyst Jonathan Schildkraut, among the majority of analysts who recommend buying Akamai's stock.
Other enterprise IT companies reporting this week are Limelight Networks Inc and Fidelity National Information Services Inc Tuesday, and cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc on Thursday. Their stocks were down between 4 percent and 9 percent on Monday.
(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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