Juniper Networks shares could climb 30 pct-Barron's

NEW YORK, July 20 Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:04pm EDT

NEW YORK, July 20 (Reuters) - Shares in network equipment maker Juniper Networks Inc. could rise 30 percent or more due to lower valuation relative to its peers and improving prospects, Barrons' magazine reported over the weekend.

It quoted Jesse Cohn, portfolio manager at Elliott Management, as saying the stock's multiple is lower now despite a brightened financial outlook.

Elliott is a $25 billion multi-strategy hedge fund which owns 8.3 percent of Juniper, worth $1 billion.

"With the stock today at $24, it trades at 10 times earnings, excluding net cash, and it's cheaper than it's ever been," Cohn said.

"This is despite the fact that it is a better company than it has been for years, with superior revenue diversity, significant strategic relevance and a clear operating plan."

A year earlier, Cohn said, the estimate for 2015 earnings was not the current $2 a share but $1.42. The stock had a higher forward multiple of 15.

Cohn sees Juniper's stock trading at $32 based on the $2 earnings estimate, assuming the stock gets back to its favored multiple.

Last Friday, Juniper closed at $24, up 0.6 percent on the day. It has gained 6.3 percent so far this year. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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