Aruba shares rise on results, brokers raise price targets
(Reuters) - Shares of Aruba Network Inc (ARUN.O) looked set to open up 15 percent on Friday, after it reported a rise in quarterly revenue on solid demand for its wireless network equipment and a host of brokerages raised their price targets on the stock.
The secured wireless network equipment supplier's quarterly results beat analysts' expectations, even as telecom carriers —its biggest customers — cut down on spending.
A faltering U.S. recovery and weakness in Europe has hit network equipment makers as customers delay purchases of new equipment.
The world's largest network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) said earlier this month that economic conditions in Europe were unlikely to improve any time soon.
Aruba's fourth-quarter results seemed mostly unaffected by the global macroeconomic slowdown, BMO Capital Markets analysts said in a note. The brokerage raised its price target on the company's stock to $22 from $17.
Gross margin was at 73.6 percent, helped by its higher-margin U.S. business, which grew 14 percent sequentially, ThinkEquity LLC analyst Rajesh Ghai said in a note.
The company, however, reported lower sales from its business in southern Europe, which accounts for a small percentage of its revenue, analyst Shebly Seyrafi of FBN Securities said in a note.
"The company also cited record new customer additions, solid bookings across products, good visibility, and better confidence in the pipeline," Barclays Capital analysts led by Jeff Kvaal said in a note to clients and raised the price target on the company's stock to $23 from $18.
ClearPass, the company's policy management system, was also gaining ground with existing and new customers. The system allows users to identify, enable and disable individual devices, users, and applications, Kvaal added.
Aruba's core verticals including education, health care and government continued to be strong in the quarter, analysts at Lazard Capital Markets said, raising the price target on the stock to $24 to $23.
(Reporting by Neha Alawadhi in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)
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