Juniper Shares Search for Guidance
Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) shares were up slightly in late afternoon trading today, but they haven’t yet fully recovered from the panic set off yesterday when rumors struck that the company had adjusted its quarterly outlook and would miss the quarter.
Only one problem: the remarks were misinterpreted. Here's the story:
Juniper’s CFO Marcel Gani, addressing a group at an investment conference Thursday, said that the softening economy creates the risk that the quarter’s results could decline as much as 10 percent.
The remarks were widely publicized on the financial television stations, sparking a selloff in Juniper shares, which fell 4.56 (7.68%) to 53.44, most of the plunge coming Thursday afternoon.
So what's the twist? Gani wasn't saying anything new. He made similar remarks during the company’s first quarter conference call last month. "We believe there is a 10 percent macro risk in our ability to [achieve projected] results,” he said at the time (see Juniper Upbeat on Q1 Earnings ).
Juniper officials said there has been no official change in guidance.
Some analysts were unfazed by the mini-panic. “I’m a little worried about the June period, but that’s because I think the next-generation box is coming soon and there might be some issues as they transition to a new product,” says Salomon Smith Barney's Alex Henderson. “But we’re not worried about what they’ve delivered to date.”
Juniper shares ended the day up 1.37 (2.56%) at 54.81.
At its last conference call, Juniper said that it expects a 2001 growth rate of roughly 85 percent to 100 percent over last year's levels. The low end of revenues for 2001 are expected to be about $1.2 billion. Those figures were some 11 percent to 18 percent lower than Juniper had given on previous earnings calls.
- Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading