3 Reasons Juniper Networks Is a Buy Today

Consistent growth along with free cash flow that beats its peers, yeah buying Juniper sounds like a good idea.

May 25, 2014 at 2:00PM

Investors are faced with multiple choices in the networking business, but Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) seems to offer investors the best combination of yield, growth, and value. While analysts are calling for much faster earnings growth from peers like Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) and Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK), there are three solid reasons that Juniper is the stock to buy today.

The top line is the top reason
It might sound simplistic, but in many cases if investors are faced with several choices, the company with the best top line growth is a good place to start. In the technology field, companies that grow revenue are prized and those with stalled revenue growth are branded as failures.

It's no secret that the convergence of big data, social media, and the move toward digital distribution creates a nearly constant need for new and improved networking equipment. In theory, there should be enough sales for multiple companies to report significant growth.

However, between Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper, and Nokia, only Juniper is reporting consistent growth across the majority of its businesses. In fact, in the last quarter, Juniper reported that more than 88% of the company's revenue increased by at least 6%. This cross-division strength led Juniper to a 10% annual increase in overall revenue.

To say that Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia lagged Juniper's top line growth is a massive understatement. While Alcatel-Lucent did report growth from just under half of its businesses, the overall result was essentially flat revenue on a year-over-year basis. Nokia did significantly worse with overall revenue declining by 15%. If you are looking for a good reason to buy Juniper today, the company's superior top line growth seems like a good place to start.

From top to bottom
It's true that some companies are able to grow their revenue yet report insignificant or a complete lack of free cash flow. Fortunately for Juniper shareholders, Juniper's top-line growth also translates into significant cash flow as well.

In fact, one of the best ways to compare companies in the same industry is by comparing their core free cash flow to their revenue. This measure of core free cash flow per dollar of sales gives investors an apples-to-apples comparison.

Juniper produced significantly more free cash flow from each dollar of sales relative to its competition. In the most recent quarter, Juniper generated $0.19 in free cash flow per dollar of sales. Looking at Alcatel-Lucent, the company was free cash flow negative and doesn't expect to regain free cash flow until 2015.

Nokia produced positive free cash flow, but nowhere near the level of Juniper's production. At $0.05 of core free cash flow per dollar of sales, the comparison to Juniper is no comparison at all. Juniper is outperforming its peers on a core free cash flow basis, and that is a second reason to buy the stock.

Spending on the future too
The third reason investors should consider buying Juniper today is the company continues to spend heavily on research and development. Along with death and taxes, there is nothing as sure as the fact that technology companies must spend on research and development if they hope to survive in the future.

While networking companies generally spend heavily on R&D, Juniper is leading its peers by this measure as well. In the current quarter, Juniper spent 23% of its revenue on R&D. Though Nokia was close at 22%, and Alcatel-Lucent put up a good fight at 18%, as we've seen neither company generates the cash flow of Juniper.

Final thoughts
The bottom line is, Juniper is growing revenue faster, generating more free cash flow, and spending more on R&D than its peers. When you combine these traits with a newly minted dividend and a renewed commitment to share repurchases, you get more than enough reasons to buy the stock.

Your cable company is scared, but you can get rich
You know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple. 


Chad Henage has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information