F5 Networks Declines After Revenue Falls Short of Analyst’s Estimates

F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV)’s stock fell the most in six months after the maker of software used to manage computer networks reported quarterly revenue that trailed some analysts’ estimates.

The shares dropped $12.57, or 11 percent to $98.87 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market, marking the biggest decline since January. Today’s loss extends the stock’s slide for the year to 24 percent.

Sales in the fiscal third quarter ended June 30 totaled $290.7 million, as revenue decreased in Europe and slowed from the U.S. government, the Seattle-based company said yesterday in a statement. The average of 34 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was $290.8 million. Profit excluding some items was 97 cents a share, more than the average estimate of 91 cents.

“We’re in a pause right now as Europe is weak, the U.S. federal government is weak in terms of spending, and financial firms are actually slowing spending a bit,” said Alkesh Shah, an analyst at Evercore Partners in New York who rates the stock “underweight” and has a price target of $90. “That combination is causing a pause that people didn’t expect and that’s why the stock has pulled back.”

Investors are concerned that revenue growth has been slowing since 2010’s fourth quarter, when sales increased 45 percent from a year earlier. Sales rose 26 percent in the most recent three-month period. The average analyst estimate for this quarter is for a 22 percent gain, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zachary Tracer in New York at ztracer1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles@bloomberg.net.

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