What happened

Shares of Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) slumped on Wednesday, after the company reported its fourth-quarter results. While Juniper Networks beat analyst estimates for both revenue and earnings, a double-digit sales slump and lackluster guidance took a toll on the stock. Shares of Juniper Networks were down 7.5% at market close, after having been down as much as 11.5% earlier in the day.

So what

Juniper Networks reported fourth-quarter revenue of $1.24 billion, down 11% year over year but about $10 million above the average analyst estimate. Product revenue tumbled 15.8% to $830.4 million, while service revenue grew 2.3% to $409.1 million.

A Juniper Networks sign.

Image source: Juniper Networks.

Non-GAAP earnings came in at $199.4 million, or $0.53 per share, down 22% year over year. Analysts were expecting EPS of $0.52. The company lost $148.1 million, or $0.40 per share, on a GAAP basis because of charges related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

While Juniper Networks beat fourth-quarter expectations, the company's guidance fell short. First-quarter revenue is expected to be $1.05 billion, plus or minus $30 million, while first-quarter non-GAAP EPS is expected to be $0.25, plus or minus $0.03. Analysts were expecting revenue guidance of $1.156 billion and non-GAAP EPS guidance of $0.42.

Now what

Juniper's first-quarter revenue guidance implies a year-over-year decline of 14% at the midpoint. The company offered an explanation in its earnings release: "The first-quarter revenue outlook reflects ongoing deployment delays as Juniper expects its large cloud customers to continue their architectural transition, which is expected to result in below normal seasonality."

Juniper Networks expects to return to year-over-year growth by the end of year, although gross margin will be pressured by lower volume and product mix. But after two not-so-great quarterly reports in a row, investors are losing patience.

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