Juniper Stock Lower as Analysts React Coolly to First-Quarter Outlook

Juniper's stock dropped after the networking-equipment producer offered up lukewarm guidance toward its first-quarter earnings.
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Juniper Networks (JNPR) - Get Report shares dropped on Tuesday as analysts reacted coolly to the networking computer company's first-quarter-earnings outlook.

Juniper's stock price at last check was off 4.1% to $23.46 after the Sunnyvale, Calif., network-equipment reported for the fourth quarter and provided first-quarter guidance.

"The top-line picture remains sluggish for Juniper - potentially offset by some gross-margin improvement," analysts at Jefferies wrote.

While Juniper's sales guidance is in line with analyst estimates, the company is forecasting earnings per share a few cents below views on the Street, Jefferies noted.

Juniper is now expecting earnings of 27 cents a share in the first quarter, compared with the consensus analyst estimate of 31 cents.

"Longer term, we continue to see Juniper get pressured by architectural/technology changes in routing networks at hyperscale and service provider customers," Jefferies analysts wrote.

Analysts at Cowen, RBC and Morgan Stanley also raised concerns to varying degrees on Juniper's first-quarter projections. Cowen tagged Juniper's earnings estimates for 2020 as "anemic."

Juniper did come through in the fourth quarter as its earnings per share matched analyst expectations and its revenue surpassed them.

Juniper earned 58 cents a share in Q4, matching the estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research. The company generated $1.2 billion in revenue in the quarter, beating analyst estimates of $1.19 billion.

"Juniper's results and guidance both tracked modestly better than expected," wrote analysts at JPMorgan.