F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday. The firm currently has a $185.00 price objective on the network technology company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 13.28% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “F5 Networks is benefiting from increasing demand for cloud and security offerings. Deployment of solutions by customers on cloud and on-premise environment is expected to drive revenues going ahead. Partnership with major public cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure is a tailwind. The company’s BIG-IP Cloud Edition is also expected to be a meaningful driver of software growth. Moreover, these initiatives are expected to expand the company’s total addressable market and result in client wins. The stock has outperformed the industry in the past year. Estimates have been stable ahead of the company's Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Nevertheless, a volatile spending atmosphere and competition from peers remain concerns. Moreover, a substantial portion of sales is derived from outside the U.S., which exposes the company to exchange rate fluctuations.”

FFIV has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Standpoint Research raised F5 Networks from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, October 12th. BidaskClub lowered shares of F5 Networks from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 4th. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “buy” rating and set a $218.00 target price on shares of F5 Networks in a research note on Thursday, December 20th. MKM Partners lifted their target price on shares of F5 Networks to $190.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, October 26th. Finally, Cowen upped their target price on shares of F5 Networks from $186.00 to $196.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, October 26th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $174.18.

Shares of FFIV stock traded down $2.29 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $163.31. The stock had a trading volume of 26,531 shares, compared to its average volume of 648,308. F5 Networks has a 12-month low of $133.14 and a 12-month high of $199.71. The stock has a market capitalization of $10.07 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.41, a P/E/G ratio of 1.96 and a beta of 0.89.

F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 24th. The network technology company reported $2.90 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.63 by $0.27. F5 Networks had a return on equity of 40.04% and a net margin of 20.99%. The firm had revenue of $562.71 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $560.72 million. Analysts forecast that F5 Networks will post 8.55 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other F5 Networks news, Director Sandra E. Bergeron sold 8,900 shares of F5 Networks stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $169.54, for a total value of $1,508,906.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 2,000 shares in the company, valued at $339,080. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Francois Locoh-Donou sold 8,530 shares of F5 Networks stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $178.04, for a total transaction of $1,518,681.20. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 21,961 shares in the company, valued at $3,909,936.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 48,012 shares of company stock worth $8,473,168. 0.30% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Vanguard Group Inc boosted its position in F5 Networks by 2.5% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 6,537,476 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $1,303,703,000 after buying an additional 158,995 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in F5 Networks by 1.7% during the third quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,156,859 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $1,028,380,000 after purchasing an additional 85,994 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its holdings in shares of F5 Networks by 11.7% in the third quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 2,019,774 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $402,783,000 after buying an additional 211,800 shares in the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of F5 Networks by 66.2% in the third quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 1,806,836 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $360,319,000 after purchasing an additional 719,638 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can grew its position in F5 Networks by 1.3% during the third quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 1,391,872 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $277,567,000 after acquiring an additional 18,476 shares during the last quarter. 97.41% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About F5 Networks

F5 Networks, Inc develops, markets, and sells application delivery networking products that optimize the security, performance, and availability of network applications, servers, and storage systems. The company's primary application delivery technology is Traffic Management Operating System (TMOS) that enable company's products to intercept, inspect, and act on the contents of traffic from virtually each type of Internet Protocol-enabled application.

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