Aruba Networks Hit a 52-Week Low: Vacation's Over?

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Shares of Aruba Networks (NAS: ARUN) hit a 52-week low today. Let's look at how it got here and whether dark clouds are ahead.

How it got here
The networking gear specialist sold off after its second-quarter earnings report in February that failed to impress investors, as shares promptly dropped 10% the following day. Total revenue jumped by 35% while its GAAP net loss increased to $11.4 million, or $0.11 per share.

Over the past six weeks, shares have fallen even further on concerns over Aruba's growth prospects, combined with intensifying competition and macroeconomic concerns over IT spending. Fellow networker Riverbed Technology (NAS: RVBD) got punished by a disappointing quarter, and it didn't help when networking giant Cisco Systems (NAS: CSCO) CEO John Chambers sang his standard tune of gloominess within IT, sparking a tech sell-off in the process.


How it stacks up
Let's see how Aruba stacks up with some of its networking rivals and peers.

ARUN Chart

ARUN data by YCharts

We'll add some additional fundamental metrics for more insight.

Company

P/E (TTM)

Sales Growth (MRQ)

Net Margin (TTM)

ROE (TTM)

Aruba Networks33.534.5%12.8%18.8%
Cisco Systems12.36.6%16.1%14.9%
Riverbed Technology48.111.5%7.7%8.4%
F5 Networks (NAS: FFIV) 38.122.4%20.9%22.8%
Juniper Networks (NAS: JNPR) 30.4(6.3%)7.1%4.4%

Source: Reuters. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Aruba is still putting up the most top-line growth out of this bunch, and Riverbed's high multiples and decelerating growth explain its sell-off. Cisco and Juniper remain the big boys in the room, although Aruba has announced various wins recently. For example, two universities have replaced gear from Cisco and Juniper recently, opting for Aruba's equipment. F5 enjoys the highest margin of these names, which complements its healthy growth nicely.

What's next?
The company is set to benefit from the increasing trend of BYOD, or "bring your own device," within IT. It's embracing the widespread consumer adoption of Apple iPhones and Google Androids as a catalyst for a shift to enterprise mobility.

Aruba is set to report third-quarter earnings tomorrow after the close, so we'll see if its digits can turn that frown upside down. I think it will, so I'm also giving Aruba an outperform CAPScall today.

Add these networking players to your watchlist to get the latest updates on the sector.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Riverbed Technology and Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Riverbed Technology, Cisco Systems, and Google. The Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Riverbed Technology, Apple, and F5 Networks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a stock position in Riverbed Technology. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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