F5 Networks Inc. Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (FFIV)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- F5 Networks (Nasdaq: FFIV) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 14.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • FFIV has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.37, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • F5 NETWORKS INC has improved earnings per share by 6.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, F5 NETWORKS INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.45 versus $2.97 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.02 versus $3.45).
  • The gross profit margin for F5 NETWORKS INC is currently very high, coming in at 86.10%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 19.01% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $144.81 million or 9.80% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, F5 NETWORKS INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 14.11%.

F5 Networks, Inc. provides application delivery networking technology that secures and optimizes the delivery of network-based applications, and the security, performance, and availability of servers and other network resources. F5 has a market cap of $7.44 billion and is part of the technology sector and computer software & services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 27, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full F5 Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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