F5 Networks Lead Techs Down as Stocks Slide on Lackluster Jobs Report

Michael Teague  |

Shares for F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV) tanked on Friday, losing 18.34 percent to $73.84 as the tech sector led stocks down across the board.

On Thursday, F5 cut its guidance for the current quarter from expected adjusted earnings of $1.21 to $1.24 per share to $1.06 to $1.07 per share, as expected revenue was reduced from $380 million to $350.2 million.

The network equipment manufacturer’s slide had a chain reaction on its competitors Juniper Networks (JNPR) who lost 3.64 percent to $17.46, and Cisco Systems (CSCO) who were down 2.29 to $20.56.

F5 cited lower government sales as one of the reasons for it drastic reduction of guidance figures, leading to worries that the across-the-board sequester cuts that were recently triggered are finally starting to have tangible consequences for the economy.

The news was compounded by the Labor Department’s release of the March jobs report, which indicated payrolls increased by 88,000 workers for the month, far off from estimates of 190,000, and even further from February’s gain of 268,000 jobs.

The report also showed the jobless rate edging down slightly from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent, though there are fears that this is likely the product of people dropping out of the workforce altogether.

A number of tech companies had taken big losses by midday: IT services provider Radware Ltd. (RDWR) down 23.15 percent to $28.88, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) down 1.66 percent to $21.93, Intel (INTC) down 1.61 percent to $20.80, and Unisys (UIS) down 3.51 percent to $21.44.

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