Analysts Raise Targets for F5, as Confusion Reigns After Earnings

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F5 Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) investors must be very confused if they go to quote pages for their news. The company beat earnings expectations and raised guidance, at least that it is how it is being reported by some. Zacks Investment Research called its report a miss on the second quarter.

Perhaps the top issue to look for is how analysts have reacted. Most have not raised nor lowered their official Buy, Sell or Hold equivalent ratings. Still, many price target changes have been seen.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch maintained a Neutral rating but raised its target to $120 for the stock. Other calls seen were as follows, but other analysts have done the same as well:

  • UBS maintained a Neutral rating but raised its target to $112.
  • FBR maintained a Market Perform rating and raised the target to $120.
  • Piper Jaffray maintained an Overweight rating and raised the target to $120.
  • RBC maintained its Outperform rating, raising the target to $135 (from $130).

F5 shares trade at 20.5 times the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate for 2014 (September-end) and 17.7 times the consensus earnings estimate for 2015. Revenues are expected to be up by almost 15% in 2014 and another 12% in 2015.

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Apparently, the confusion is continuing on Thursday. F5 shares were down by 0.8% at $107.28 in mid-day trading, and its 52-week trading range is $67.53 to $116.71. The average volume of 1.77 million shares has already been surpassed, but only barely.

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