Tech bellwether Cisco Systems Inc. said its fiscal first-quarter earnings slumped amid the broader economic slowdown, but its results still beat analyst expectations.

The San Jose, California-based company, which makes the gear that helps power the Internet, said its operating earnings fell to $332 million, or 4 cents a share, from $1.4 billion, or 18 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Analysts had expected the company to earn 2 cents a share, with a range of 1 cent to 3 cents, according to Thomson Financial/First Call, which tracks such data. Analysts also forecast first-quarter sales of $4.17 billion.

Sales for the quarter ending Oct. 31 fell 32 percent to $4.4 billion from $6.52 billion last year. However, they rose from the previous quarter's $4.3 billion.

Chief Executive John Chamber said last month he was "very comfortable" with Wall Street's estimates. Cisco said in August first-quarter sales would be flat to down 5 percent from the fourth quarter.

Reuters contributed to this report.