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Network Stocks: 4 to Buy, 1 to Sell

This leads us to F5, a company that consistently appears to have its act together. Within the sector its stock is by far the most expensive when looking at valuation and its P/E ratio. As high as expectations continue to be, F5 has not given investors any reason to think it will not be able to grow into its valuation. This sentiment is also the case for investor belief that the opportunities offered by the cloud can indeed be seized. For F5, its belief is that cloud computing is essentially an exercise in infrastructure integration.

The company's "F5 application and control planes" allow corporations to extend existing data center control to cloud architectures while consistently enforcing policies that ensure the security, performance as well as reliability of applications and systems.

What's more, the company understands the type of solutions needed to not only eliminate human error, but also minimize management overhead.

Clearly, management knows what it is doing, current investors remain positive and analysts are growing more confident each quarter. Nonetheless, at $96 per share, the stock is down 30% over the past five months after reaching a high of $139. Investors who are willing to take a risk here may not be disappointed if holding for 12 to 24 months. By then the stock will have recovered its ground and then some.

The only sell recommendation on our list is Juniper. But that has not always been the case. The company has long been at the center of the debate as to which is better when compared to Cisco. Cisco remains the clear-cut leader as questions regarding Juniper's overall health remain an issue.

Though the company did a decent job of dispelling these concerns by logging a beat in its second-quarter earnings report, Juniper's adjusted net income is down 50% from the previous year. What's more, the company disappointed analysts with poor guidance for the third quarter, citing near-term macro uncertainty.
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