F5 Networks (FFIV) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

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F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday. The brokerage currently has a $185.00 price objective on the network technology company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would indicate a potential upside of 13.28% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “F5 Networks is benefiting from increasing demand for cloud and security offerings. Deployment of solutions by customers on cloud and on-premise environment is expected to drive revenues going ahead. Partnership with major public cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure is a tailwind. The company’s BIG-IP Cloud Edition is also expected to be a meaningful driver of software growth. Moreover, these initiatives are expected to expand the company’s total addressable market and result in client wins. The stock has outperformed the industry in the past year. Estimates have been stable ahead of the company's Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Nevertheless, a volatile spending atmosphere and competition from peers remain concerns. Moreover, a substantial portion of sales is derived from outside the U.S., which exposes the company to exchange rate fluctuations.”

Other analysts also recently issued reports about the company. Standpoint Research raised F5 Networks from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, October 12th. BidaskClub lowered F5 Networks from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 4th. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $218.00 price target on shares of F5 Networks in a report on Thursday, December 20th. MKM Partners increased their price target on shares of F5 Networks to $190.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, October 26th. Finally, Cowen lifted their price target on F5 Networks from $186.00 to $196.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, October 26th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. F5 Networks currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $174.18.

NASDAQ:FFIV traded down $2.29 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $163.31. The stock had a trading volume of 26,531 shares, compared to its average volume of 648,308. The company has a market cap of $10.07 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.41, a PEG ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.89. F5 Networks has a 52 week low of $133.14 and a 52 week high of $199.71.

F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 24th. The network technology company reported $2.90 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.63 by $0.27. The company had revenue of $562.71 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $560.72 million. F5 Networks had a return on equity of 40.04% and a net margin of 20.99%. On average, equities research analysts expect that F5 Networks will post 8.55 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other F5 Networks news, Director Sandra E. Bergeron sold 8,900 shares of F5 Networks stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $169.54, for a total value of $1,508,906.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 2,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $339,080. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Francois Locoh-Donou sold 8,530 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $178.04, for a total value of $1,518,681.20. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 21,961 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,909,936.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 48,012 shares of company stock valued at $8,473,168 in the last three months. Insiders own 0.30% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of FFIV. Vanguard Group Inc raised its stake in F5 Networks by 2.5% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 6,537,476 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $1,303,703,000 after buying an additional 158,995 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of F5 Networks by 1.7% in the third quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,156,859 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $1,028,380,000 after acquiring an additional 85,994 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its position in F5 Networks by 11.7% during the third quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 2,019,774 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $402,783,000 after buying an additional 211,800 shares in the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its stake in F5 Networks by 66.2% during the third quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 1,806,836 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $360,319,000 after acquiring an additional 719,638 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can grew its stake in shares of F5 Networks by 1.3% in the third quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 1,391,872 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $277,567,000 after buying an additional 18,476 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 97.41% of the company’s stock.

About F5 Networks

F5 Networks, Inc develops, markets, and sells application delivery networking products that optimize the security, performance, and availability of network applications, servers, and storage systems. The company's primary application delivery technology is Traffic Management Operating System (TMOS) that enable company's products to intercept, inspect, and act on the contents of traffic from virtually each type of Internet Protocol-enabled application.

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