Acme Packet shares fall after weak outlook
Feb 8 (Reuters) - Shares of Acme Packet Inc APKT.O, which makes computer networking equipment, fell as much as 11 percent to an all-time low on Friday, a day after the company forecast weak 2008 results, which prompted analysts to temper their views on the stock.
The company's revenue growth forecast of 26 percent to 28 percent for the year is consistent with the industry backdrop and reflects expected lower communications infrastructure spending, Needham & Co analyst Greg Mesniaeff said in a note to clients.
Mesniaeff cut the price target to $12 from $18, and kept a "buy" rating on the stock of the company, which makes session border controllers, a device used in Internet Protocol networks.
Earlier this week, rival Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O: Quotazione) gave a weak outlook and warned of a rapid slowdown in U.S. and European orders.
Acme Packet, which went public in 2006, also competes with Ditech Networks Inc DITC.O and Juniper Networks Inc JNPR.O, and dominates the session border controllers market space.
The company generates a significant portion of its revenue in Europe, and a weak U.S. dollar is the main culprit behind the outlook, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Edward Jackson wrote in a research note.
The outlook does not reflect any change in business fundamentals and the company is poised for substantial growth over the coming years, said Jackson, who trimmed the price target by $1 to $14, but kept a "buy" rating on the stock.
On Thursday, Acme Packets forecast earnings of 28 cents to 32 cents a share, on revenue of $142 million to $147 million for the year. Excluding items, it expects to earn 38 cents to 42 cents a share.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 47 cents a share, before items, and revenue of $151.8 million, according to Reuters Estimates.
The company's shares, which touched an all-time low of $7.75 earlier, pared some losses and were trading down 48 cents at $8.22 in morning trade on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Jennifer Robin Raj in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan)
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