UPDATE: Piper Jaffray Downgrades Juniper Networks to Neutral, Makes Valuation Call
Piper Jaffray downgraded Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) from Overweight to Neutral and maintained a $28 price target. Troy Jensen, analyst at PiperJaffray, believes “current valuation reflects all near-term accretion” and margin expansion is “unlikely."
Something from the note which may be concerning to growth investors, Jensen expects top-line sales growth to stay in-line with analyst estimates which he pegs at 5.9 percent and 8 percent for FY14 and FY15, respectively.
In effort to keep shareholders happy, Juniper announced the “Integrated Operating Plan” following recent investor activism and a transition at the CEO position. Juniper projects annualized OpEx savings of $160 million, which should drive +580bps of operating margin improvements by 2015. The company also intends to return $3 billion to shareholders through dividends and buybacks. As a result, Jensen is lowering “FY14 and FY15 OpEx assumptions by $68 and $204 million respectively, which in turn results in operating margins of 21% and 23.4%, the highest level in nearly five years.”
Shares of Juniper gapped down to down slightly to $ 26.72, but have retraced to Tuesday's closing price of $27.09.
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