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Juniper Networks (JNPR) Cuts Q1 Outlook, Shares Plummet

Juniper Networks Inc. JNPR lowered its outlook for the first quarter of 2016 owing to soft demand from enterprises as well as U.S. and European telecom customers. Following the announcement, the company’s shares plunged more than 6% in afters-hours trading yesterday.

The company expects to earn revenues in the range of $1.090 billion to $1.100 billion in the first quarter of 2016, lower than the previous guidance of $1.150 billion to $1.190 billion. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.82 billion. The provider of Internet infrastructure solutions also expects its first quarter non-GAAP earnings per share to range within 35 cents to 37 cents, lower than the previous guidance of 42 cents to 46 cents. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at 37 cents.

According to the company, “The reduced outlook reflects weaker demand from enterprise customers and delayed gear deployments from telecom companies.”

In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, Juniper reported revenues of $1.320 billion, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.298 billion and came ahead of its own expectation of $1.290 billion (+/- $20 million).  Further, revenues increased 19.8% year over year mainly driven by higher demand from, telecom, Cloud and Cable service providers.

Going forward, the company’s expansion into the software defined network segment should strengthen its position in the networking space.

However, we were disappointed with the weak outlook for the first quarter amid uncertain global macro environment and anticipation of potentially weak investment patterns among customers.

Moreover, charges related to the company’s restructuring initiatives are likely to impact near-term profitability. Competition from Cisco CSCO and F5 Networks FFIV as well as delays in large projects remain the concerns.

Juniper Networks is set to report its full first-quarter results on Apr 28, 2016.

Currently, Juniper has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock worth considering in the technology sector is Lexmark International Inc. LXK, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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