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Why Arista Networks, Inc. Stock Skyrocketed 143.4% in 2017

By Steve Symington - Updated Jan 11, 2018 at 3:03PM

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Wall Street just couldn't seem to keep up with the disruptive cloud-networking company last year.

What happened

Shares of Arista Networks, Inc. (ANET -0.33%) climbed 143.4% in 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, as the cloud networking specialist delivered several stronger-than-expected quarterly reports and showed no signs of slowing down.

To be sure, Arista's meteoric rise last year started with a nearly 19% single-day pop in February, when the company announced impressive fourth-quarter 2016 results punctuated by nearly 34% year-over-year revenue growth. At the time, it marked Arista's first time exceeding one billion dollars in annual sales -- a remarkable feat for a relatively young business that only just went public in mid-2014.

Networking switches in a rack with neatly organized blue networking cable plugged in

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

So what

Arista continued to climb higher on the heels of that report, helped by upgrades or increased price targets from no less than 10 different Wall Street firms in the ensuing weeks. Then Arista Networks received its next significant catalyst in August, when shares rose 18% following a terrific second-quarter report in which the company revealed revenue growth had accelerated to 51%. Most recently, Arista followed with yet another record quarter in November, sustaining that growth rate and resulting in an almost 17% gain for the month.

Arista Networks CEO Jayshree Ullal unsurprisingly said she was "proud" of their results at the time, adding "Our performance validates our meaningful traction with customers as they evolve from legacy to universal cloud networking designs." 

To be sure, despite operating in a crowded market with larger, arguably more experienced competitors trying to muscle away its business, Arista's industry-leading cloud networking platform is effectively disrupting the networking space as we know it.

Now what

As it stands, Arista Networks' next quarterly report is slated for mid-February. And it's not as though the bar is set low; the midpoint of the company's guidance calls for revenue to climb around 39%. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wall Street's consensus estimates predict Arista's sales will rise an even better 41.3%.

But if Arista's habit for under-promising and over-delivering is any indication, I won't be the least bit surprised if those estimates prove to be too conservative once again. And if that turns out to be the case, Arista's share price in 2018 should only continue to rise.

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