Lazard Asset Management LLC Grows Stake in F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV)

Lazard Asset Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV) by 21.1% in the first quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 309,474 shares of the network technology company’s stock after buying an additional 53,949 shares during the quarter. Lazard Asset Management LLC’s holdings in F5 Networks were worth $48,565,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc grew its holdings in shares of F5 Networks by 2.5% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 6,537,476 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $1,303,703,000 after purchasing an additional 158,995 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in shares of F5 Networks by 1.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,448,618 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $855,052,000 after purchasing an additional 74,802 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can grew its holdings in shares of F5 Networks by 6.7% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 1,461,116 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $229,293,000 after purchasing an additional 92,149 shares during the period. MERIAN GLOBAL INVESTORS UK Ltd grew its holdings in shares of F5 Networks by 6.1% in the first quarter. MERIAN GLOBAL INVESTORS UK Ltd now owns 1,311,316 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $205,784,000 after purchasing an additional 75,676 shares during the period. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in shares of F5 Networks by 7.0% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 1,094,712 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $177,152,000 after purchasing an additional 72,027 shares during the period. 97.15% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

FFIV has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. BidaskClub raised shares of F5 Networks from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday. ValuEngine cut shares of F5 Networks from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 14th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of F5 Networks from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, April 23rd. Nomura raised shares of F5 Networks from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their target price for the company from $155.00 to $180.00 in a research report on Monday, April 1st. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies raised shares of F5 Networks from an “underweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and upped their target price for the company from $157.00 to $163.00 in a research report on Friday, March 29th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $172.13.

In other news, CFO Francis J. Pelzer sold 231 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $151.58, for a total transaction of $35,014.98. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 902 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $136,725.16. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Francois Locoh-Donou sold 4,001 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $151.58, for a total transaction of $606,471.58. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 32,041 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,856,774.78. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 10,168 shares of company stock worth $1,546,472 in the last three months. Corporate insiders own 0.22% of the company’s stock.

NASDAQ FFIV traded up $0.72 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $142.69. The company had a trading volume of 6,154 shares, compared to its average volume of 675,859. F5 Networks, Inc. has a 1-year low of $131.53 and a 1-year high of $199.71. The stock has a market capitalization of $8.47 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.84, a PEG ratio of 1.95 and a beta of 1.01.

F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, April 24th. The network technology company reported $2.04 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.03 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $544.90 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $547.03 million. F5 Networks had a net margin of 22.91% and a return on equity of 39.13%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 2.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $2.31 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that F5 Networks, Inc. will post 8.59 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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About F5 Networks

F5 Networks, Inc develops, markets, and sells application delivery networking products that optimize the security, performance, and availability of network applications, servers, and storage systems. The company's primary application delivery technology is Traffic Management Operating System (TMOS) that enable company's products to intercept, inspect, and act on the contents of traffic from virtually each type of Internet Protocol-enabled application.

Further Reading: Margin

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV)

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