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F5 Networks Tumbles as Quarterly Results Trail Forecast

F5 Networks Inc. fell the most in more than two years after the maker of data-management equipment reported preliminary quarterly profit and revenue that missed its forecast as North American sales slowed.

The shares slid 19 percent to $73.21 at the close in New York, for the biggest one-day decrease since January 2011. They have dropped 25 percent this year, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 8.9 percent.

F5 Networks, which counts technology and telecommunications companies among its customers, said sales in the latter segment fell “significantly” during its second quarter that ended March 31. Customer hesitancy prevented the Seattle-based company from closing “certain forecasted deals,” Chief Executive Officer John McAdam said on an earnings call yesterday.

“The slowdown in orders was pronounced in North America and to a lesser extent EMEA while Asia-Pacific and Japan came in roughly as planned,” McAdam said.

Preliminary revenue was $350.2 million, compared with the company’s forecast of as much as $380 million, according to a statement yesterday. Analysts had estimated an average of $375.8 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Preliminary profit excluding expenses such as stock-based compensation was $1.06 to $1.07 a share, the company said. F5 Networks had forecast as much as $1.24, and the average of analysts’ estimates was $1.23.

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