Cisco said earnings rose 18 percent in the first quarter, propelled by a renewed willingness by large US businesses to invest in big-ticket networking gear, even as the federal government continued to hold back. Orders from large business customers rose 9 percent from a year ago. That helped make up for continued weakness in Europe. Cisco made $2.1 billion, or 39 cents per share, in the period. That compares with $1.8 billion, or 33 cents, in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose 5.5 percent to $11.9 billion, beating Wall Street estimates.