CORRECTED-Cisco shares jump as demand recovers in key markets
(Corrects paragraph 4 to say book-to-bill ratio, not book-to-build ratio)
May 15 (Reuters) - Cisco Systems Inc's shares rose as much as 8 percent after the network equipment maker posted strong quarterly results and signaled recovering demand in the United States and Northern Europe.
At least 18 brokerages raised their price targets on the company's stock, with Cowen & Co raising it to $30.
Cisco's shares rose to an eight-month high of $24.69 in early trade on Thursday.
Chief Executive John Chambers said on Wednesday that the company's book-to-bill ratio, the proportion of orders received to units shipped and billed, was "comfortably above one," indicating strong demand.
"A surprising reversal in product orders suggests the worst is now behind Cisco," Pacific Crest Securities analyst Brent Bracelin wrote in a post-earnings note to clients.
"The biggest surprise was the rebound in Europe," he said.
Cisco's key server business has grappled with competition from the so-called software-defined networks, which offer software that can run on cheaper hardware.
However, recently the company is gaining some traction in that battle due to its Nexus 9000 switches, which can adapt to flows in workloads brought on by cloud computing and big data.
Sterne Agee analyst Alex Kurtz said a 7 percent growth in U.S. orders highlighted the company's ability to execute in the data center market and helped the company gain market share for the 17th consecutive quarter.
Cisco' shares were up 6.8 percent at $24.39 in midday trading on the Nasdaq. The stock gained 8 percent over the last year to Wednesday's close. (Reporting by Soham Chatterjee, Abhirup Roy and Sampad Patnaik; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)
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