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F5 Networks Stock Has Ugliest Day Since January 2011

The Exchange

F5 Networks (FFIV) was having one of the worst sessions in its history Friday, plunging 19% after its second-quarter estimates irked investors by coming in well short of forecasts.

The Seattle-based networking technology company said after the previous close that revenue for the fiscal second quarter would be $350.2 million, below its expectation of $370 million to $380 million. Earnings, excluding items, likely will be $1.06 to $1.07 a share, under F5's guidance of $1.21 to $1.24 a share.

F5 Five-Day Stock Chart

On average, analysts had been looking for an adjusted profit of $1.23 a share and revenue of $375.9 million, according to FactSet.

Shares of F5 sold off in response, dropping 19.2% to $73.10 in recent action. Volume was approaching seven times that of a normal trading day. At its nadir for the session, the stock plunged 20.4% to $71.95, a 52-week low. The last time it fell further in a day was January 2011.

"From a market perspective, Telco bookings were down sharply on both a sequential and year-over-year basis. U.S. Federal sales were also down significantly from the second quarter a year ago," the company said in a press release.

North American sluggishness drove the bulk of the revenue miss, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa added to the drag. Sales in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region were generally in line with projections, F5 said.

F5 went public in mid-1999, toward the end of the dot-com stock boom. Since then, it's had only 12 days in which its stock fell more than this one, FactSet data show. The steepest single-session drop, on a percentage basis, was April 26, 2000, when it sank 24.8%.