F5 Networks Inc. First Quarter Earnings Preview

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV) will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, January 18, 2012. F5 Networks provides technology that optimizes the security and performance of servers, data storage devices and other network resources.

F5 Networks, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet.

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of 81 cents per share, a rise of 19.1% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. The average estimate is the same as three months ago. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate was unchanged. It also has not changed during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 20.6% versus last year to $3.57.

Past Earnings Performance: Last quarter, the company beat estimates by 7 cents, coming in at net income of 84 cents a share versus the estimate of profit of 77 cents a share. It marked the fourth straight quarter of beating estimates.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 18.6% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $319 million.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 17 analysts rating it as a buy, none rating it as a sell and eight rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, profit rose 40.2% to $67.6 million (83 cents a share) from $48.2 million (59 cents a share) the year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations. Revenue rose 23.7% to $314.6 million from $254.3 million.

Key Stats:.

The company has enjoyed double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth for the past four quarters. Over that span, the company has averaged growth of 31.3%, with the biggest boost coming in the first quarter of the last fiscal year when revenue rose 40.7% from the year earlier quarter.

The company has seen net income rise in three straight quarters. Net income rose 54.5% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year and 67.7% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year.

Competitors to Watch: Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCSI), Radware Ltd. (NASDAQ:RDWR), Riverbed Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RVBD), Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), Procera Networks, Inc. (AMEX:PKT), Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR), Dialogic Inc (NASDAQ:DLGC), NetScout Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTCT), Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRCD), and Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ).

Stock Price Performance: During October 17, 2011 to January 12, 2012, the stock price had risen $23.77 (27.3%) from $87.04 to $110.81. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between January 31, 2011 and February 7, 2011 when shares rose for six-straight days, rising 14.6% (+$15.85) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between February 14, 2011 and February 23, 2011 when shares fell for seven-straight days, falling 12.8% (-$16.43) over that span.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks).

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