Ubiquiti Unifi Ap

Ubiquiti UniFi access points are in high demand these days. Image source: Ubiquiti Networks.

What's happening: For a moment on Friday morning, shares of Ubiquiti Networks (NASDAQ:UBNT) plunged as much as 11% lower. The stock climbed back to Thursday's closing price -- as much as 3% higher, in fact -- in short order, and at 12:30 p.m. was back down 2.15% from the previous close. It's always a nerve-jolting experience to see shares crashing this hard on very heavy volume.

Why it's happening: The brief dip followed a mixed fourth-quarter report alongside equally assorted first-quarter guidance figures, and an analyst firm downgraded Ubiquiti shares right away.

In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015, the Internet-based communications specialist saw sales falling 7% year over year to land at $145 million. Adjusted earnings per diluted share decreased 10% to $0.50 per share. Analysts were looking for earnings of $0.46 per share on roughly $146 million in sales, so Ubiquiti beat the bottom-line target by a fair margin while falling just short of sales expectations.

Enterprise technology sales rose 27% above the year-ago period's reported sales to stop at $40.5 million, driven by rapid market acceptance of the new Ubiquiti UniFi access point and other recently released products. However, strong enterprise momentum wasn't enough to overcome the falling service provider result, since the fast-growing segment represents a far smaller slice of Ubiquiti's overall sales. Service provider revenues declined by 7% to $104.8 million.

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South American customers increased their orders by 45% compared to the third quarter, causing a distribution conundrum for Ubiquiti. Due to limited supply of the most popular products, units originally targeted for sale in North America were diverted to markets such as Argentina and Brazil, causing shortages north of the border.

Based on current business trends and order flows, Ubiquiti centered first-quarter revenue guidance around the $150 million mark, below Wall Street's prevailing $154 million outlook. The same trends should lead to adjusted earnings near $0.50 per share, which is above the current $0.27 consensus.

Analyst firm Wunderlich absorbed these results, then downgraded Ubiquiti from a "buy" rating to a "hold," lowering target prices from $37 to $36 per share. The firm wants Ubiquiti to complete the search for a new CFO and settle other issues related to financial controls before raising that rating again.

"We are making investments in our company that we believe will help us expand our addressable market and maintain our industry leading financial metrics," said Ubiquiti CEO Robert Pera in prepared remarks for the earnings call with analysts. "We are well placed to grow significantly in the next few quarters due to the following growth drivers: new product launches, 802.11ac upgrade cycle, a lessening impact of foreign currency fluctuations on the business, and the United States E-Rate funding program."

There are many puts and takes within this report and the analyst reaction, giving Ubiquiti investors pause before the earnings call started clearing away the cobwebs. Hence the big dip and quick recovery, once all the pieces started falling in place.

Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ubiquiti Networks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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