F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $154.00 target price on the network technology company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target indicates a potential upside of 11.72% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “F5 Networks provides products and services to manage Internet traffic worldwide. Revenue growth seems to be steady, positively impacted by strength across all its business segments and higher software revenues. We believe that the company’s product refreshes will boost revenues, going forward. It is worth mentioning that the company’s GBB pricing strategy and its BIG-IQ platform remain tailwinds. Moreover, these initiatives are expected to expand the company’s total addressable market and result in client wins. Better execution and focus on enterprise and service providers have placed F5 Networks well in the application delivery controller market. Nevertheless, a volatile spending atmosphere and competition from peers remain concerns. The stock has underperformed the industry in the last one year.”

A number of other analysts have also commented on the company. Morgan Stanley dropped their target price on F5 Networks from $130.00 to $120.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a report on Monday, October 9th. Drexel Hamilton reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $160.00 target price on shares of F5 Networks in a report on Monday, October 23rd. Nomura dropped their target price on F5 Networks from $120.00 to $115.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Monday, October 16th. Standpoint Research began coverage on F5 Networks in a report on Monday, October 2nd. They set an “accumulate” rating and a $160.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Oppenheimer reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of F5 Networks in a report on Tuesday, September 12th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have assigned a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $130.61.

Shares of F5 Networks (NASDAQ FFIV) traded up $0.22 during trading on Wednesday, hitting $137.84. The stock had a trading volume of 492,100 shares, compared to its average volume of 627,017. The company has a market capitalization of $8,770.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.17, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.16 and a beta of 1.06. F5 Networks has a 12 month low of $114.63 and a 12 month high of $149.50.

F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The network technology company reported $2.44 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.20 by $0.24. The company had revenue of $538.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $534.71 million. F5 Networks had a return on equity of 34.70% and a net margin of 20.13%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $2.11 earnings per share. equities analysts forecast that F5 Networks will post 6.7 earnings per share for the current year.

F5 Networks declared that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday, October 25th that permits the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the network technology company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, CFO Andrew Reinland sold 2,241 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $121.03, for a total value of $271,228.23. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 15,369 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,860,110.07. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Edward Julian Eames sold 15,336 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $121.06, for a total value of $1,856,576.16. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 43,824 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,305,333.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 35,712 shares of company stock worth $4,316,345 in the last ninety days. 0.26% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of FFIV. Pacer Advisors Inc. grew its position in shares of F5 Networks by 12.3% in the second quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 2,079 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $264,000 after purchasing an additional 228 shares during the last quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC acquired a new position in shares of F5 Networks in the second quarter valued at approximately $269,000. Schroder Investment Management Group grew its position in shares of F5 Networks by 157.1% in the second quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 92,704 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $11,803,000 after purchasing an additional 56,651 shares during the last quarter. CIBC World Markets Inc. acquired a new position in shares of F5 Networks in the second quarter valued at approximately $1,058,000. Finally, Franklin Resources Inc. grew its position in F5 Networks by 9.4% during the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 22,740 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $2,889,000 after buying an additional 1,962 shares in the last quarter. 94.66% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About F5 Networks

F5 Networks, Inc is a developer and provider of software defined application services. The Company is engaged in the development, marketing and sale of application delivery networking products that optimize the security, performance and availability of network applications, servers and storage systems.

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