Juniper Networks ( JNPR), a designer and manufacturer of network hardware and software and a key player in the carrier router industry, gets a 12-month price target of $44 from Goldman Sachs based on a price-to-earnings multiple of 26 to its 2011 earnings estimate of $1.70 per share.

"We expect accelerating growth in 2011 to drive upside to (Wall) Street estimates and the stock's multiple," the investment bank said in a Jan. 25 research note.

On Wednesday, Juniper posted revenue of $1.19 billion, up 26% on the prior year's quarter, and topping analysts' estimate of $1.12 billion. It earned 42 cents per share, a 31% hike over the same period last year and besting analysts' estimate of 37 cents per share.

Juniper competes head-to-head with Cisco in both the carrier router and enterprise switch businesses. The demand in that niche is expected to be strong as wireless carriers upgrade their networks to the next generation of technology over the next few years and because the industry is at the beginning of a replacement cycle following a depressed 2009. Shares are up 0.4% this year.

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