F5 Slips as Credit Suisse Downgrades on IT Demand Slowdown

F5 Networks was downgraded to neutral with a $207 price target at Credit Suisse.
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Shares of F5 Networks  (FFIV) - Get Report eased on Thursday after Credit Suisse downgraded the network application and storage systems company ahead of its fiscal-second-quarter earnings report at the end of the month. 

The investment firm cut its rating on the Seattle company to neutral from outperform with a $207 price target. 

At last check F5 shares were little changed at $210.81. They have traded on Thursday off as much as 2.8% at $205.01 

While analysts at Credit Suisse remain bullish on F5's "relevance to hybrid cloud transitions," channel checks suggest a "slight slowdown" in IT-solutions demand from enterprises and lower-than-expected demand from the U.S. federal government in the first half. 

Credit Suisse says F5's revenue growth might not accelerate after the second quarter, which could create a "mixed reaction" from investors due to the stock's current valuation. 

The stock on Monday touched a 52-week high above $216, nearly doubling its 52-week low of $116.79, set in September. 

Read More: F5 to Buy Volterra, Lifts Estimate of Q1 Earnings

F5 said on Wednesday that it would report its fiscal 2021 second-quarter financial results on April 27 after the market close. 

Analysts are expecting the company to report earnings of $2.39 per share on revenue of $636 million. 

Both expectations reflect rises from the year-earlier quarter, but earnings are expected to fall sequentially, as they tend to do in the post-holiday quarter, FactSet data show. 

Read More: F5 Networks Unveils $1 Billion Stock Buyback Plan

F5 has plans to repurchase $1 billion of stock through fiscal 2022. F5 said Monday that its buyback plan includes an accelerated repurchase of $500 million of stock in fiscal 2021.