NetGear Upshifts

Memo to those who think tech is dead: Even the commodity techies are putting up good numbers.

Let's call NetGear (Nasdaq: NTGR  ) "Exhibit A." Last night, the maker of Wi-Fi routers -- a plain-vanilla tech product if ever there was one -- reported 24% revenue growth and 8% per-share non-GAAP earnings growth. Non-GAAP operating margin improved by 30 basis points to 11.5%.

Aiding growth is a wider channel for NetGear's products. Revenue in Asia-Pacific, for example, rose 79%. The company is also borrowing a page from the book of former Stock Advisor peer Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) by teaming up with Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) . Roughly 3,500 of the Bentonville Behemoth's stores are now selling NetGear's wireless wares.

But is the stock, which is up noticeably as I write, still a buy? CAPS investors seem to think so:

Metric

NetGear

CAPS stars (out of 5)

*****

Total ratings

2,121

Bullish ratings

2,064

Percent bulls

97.3%

Bearish ratings

57

Percent bears

2.7%

Bullish pitches

324

Bearish pitches

6

Data current as of July 24, 2008.

"Proven technology with solid supply contracts," CAPS investor dhank23 wrote last week. "It's just a matter of several quarters (if that) to profitability. Contacts are worldwide, not just dependent on whether the USA wakes up and realizes that oil dependence is sucking the lifeblood from this country."

I agree. Facing a rotten economy and a tough competitor in Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) , NetGear is nevertheless producing outstanding growth. Yet, at eight times forward earnings, the stock trades as if it were a dealer in industrial toxic sludge.

You and I both know better, even if Mr. Market is too hyper to notice.

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Fool.com contributor Tim Beyers didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. He hunts for tech's best as a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers team. Get a daily dose of his Foolish musings via this feed for your RSS reader.

NetGear is a Stock Advisor selection. Dell and Wal-Mart are Inside Value picks. Try either of these market-beating services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

The Motley Fool's disclosure policy was a commodities trader during the '70s oil embargo. Ah, the good old days.


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  • Report this Comment On July 24, 2008, at 3:21 PM, sandokanrs wrote:

    I think the competition in the network equipment market is fierce and everyone is already competing for a consumer with less dollar in her pocket. Therefore, I must disagree. Crowd sentiment sites such as www.piqqem.com shows that the crowd is bearish at least for next 2 to 3 months. Holiday season and new year outlook may start to change things around but until then I am bearish on NetGear.

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