Technology bellwether Cisco Systems Inc., which makes gear that helps power the Internet, said on Tuesday its fiscal fourth-quarter profits fell 86 percent as the economic slowdown continued to hit the tech sector hard.

The San Jose, California-based networking giant said its operating earnings for the quarter ended July 28 were $163 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with $1.2 billion, or 16 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Analysts had expected the company to earn 2 cents a share, with a range of nil to 4 cents, according to market research firm Thomson Financial/First Call.

Sales fell 25 percent to $4.3 billion from $5.72 billion last year. Cisco had said sales would be flat to down 10 percent from the $4.73 billion it posted in its third quarter.