Earnings Preview: Analyst views differ on Akamai ahead of Q4 report

theflyonthewall.com

Akamai Technologies (AKAM) is expected to report Q4 earnings after the close on Tuesday, February 5, with a conference call scheduled for 4:30 pm ET. Akamai provides Internet content delivery and cloud infrastructure services... EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of 50c on revenue of $381.32M. The consensus range is 48c-52c for EPS on revenue of $378.1M-$388.49M, according to First Call. During the quarter, the company backed its guidance for Q4 EPS of 48c-50c on revenue of $373M-$385M and said it was not updating that guidance as a result of its acquisition of Verivue, which it did not expect to materially impact results of operations in Q4... LAST QUARTER: Akamai reported Q3 EPS of 43c on revenue of $345M, which beat the consensus expectations at that time in October. Immediately following that report, Akamai shares were upgraded to Outperform at Oppenheimer, which put a $50 price target on the stock at that time, and to Buy at Canaccord, which raised its price target on shares to $45 from $37... RESEARCH AND NEWS: In a note to investors this morning, Canaccord Genuity analyst Greg Miller reiterated the firm's Buy rating on Akamai, citing the belief that demand drivers for its top-line growth remain "exceptionally strong." However, on January 4, research firm Pacific Crest said it believes Akamai's traffic growth slowed in December and maintained a Sector Perform rating on the shares. Early this month, a blog devoted to online video delivery technology, Streaming Media, reported that Akamai competitor Level 3 (LVLT) won a contract from Apple (AAPL) to deliver some software downloads in the U.S. and Europe. Following that report and related weakness in Akamai shares, the stock was defended by Wells Fargo and then B. Riley Caris, which contended that the company receives less than 1% of its revenues from Apple downloads... PRICE ACTION: Since the day after last quarter's report, shares of Akamai have advanced over 14%. In afternoon trading ahead of tonight's report, Akamai is trading near flat.

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