BMO raises Cisco Systems to outperform
* BMO cites impressive performance in key businesses
* Cisco's data center business offers most growth potential: BMO
* Raises price target to $21 from $20
June 20 (Reuters) - BMO Capital Markets Corp raised Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) to "outperform" from "market perform," citing impressive growth in the company's key businesses, including switching, routing and services.
The networking and communications equipment maker's data center business probably offers the most growth potential, and momentum has been good of late, BMO analysts led by Tim Long said in a client note.
Data centers or servers, Cisco's fastest growing business, is likely to drive nearly 15 percent of the company's expected growth this year, Long said. Sales of data center products rose 44 percent last year.
The analyst also played down fears of increased competition from Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) and Juniper Networks Inc (JNPR.N).
"New switching products have stymied competitors, core routing has seen steady share gains, and Services remains a bright spot," Long said. "We also see good growth opportunities in wireless, collaboration and security."
The analyst raised his price target on the company's stock to $21 from $20. Cisco shares, which have fallen 20 percent since the start of April, closed at $17.18 on Tuesday on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Neha Alawadhi in Bangalore; Editing by Viraj Nair)
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