Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) stock price has been struggling to generate an upside momentum over the past twelve months. The share price plunged 12% in the last year due to the trader’s concerns over declining sales and earnings. Nevertheless, the company returned to year over year growth in the fourth quarter of 2019. Its sales grew at a low mid-single-digit rate in Q4.
Juniper Networks stock is currently trading around $24, down significantly from a 52-weeks high of $28 a share. Some investors believe the Juniper share price is likely to bounce back in 2020 amid positive revenue growth. Bears, however, expects JNPR share price to face more pressure due to sluggish margins.
Q4 Numbers are Supporting Juniper Networks Stock
Juniper topped fourth-quarter revenue and earnings by $10 million and $0.01 per share. Its Q4 revenue of $1.2 billion increased by 1.7% from the past year period. On the negative side, its full-year revenue of $4.4 billion decreased 4% from the last year. Moreover, the company experienced a steady decline in its margins. Its GAAP operating margin of 9.9% in 2019 dropped from an operating margin of 12.3% in the year-ago.
“We experienced better than expected top and bottom-line results during the December quarter,” said Juniper’s CFO, Ken Miller. “While we are making some incremental investments for growth that are expected to cause non-GAAP operating expenses to increase during the upcoming year, we still expect non-GAAP earnings to grow in 2020 and leverage to improve in future years.”
Business Momentum Is Likely to Grow
Juniper Networks’ strategy of investing in cloud and other businesses is working. Although the company expects pressure on margins due to investment in growth opportunities, its earnings and revenues are likely to grow in the first quarter this year. JNPR anticipates mid-single-digit growth in Q4 based on both sequential and year over year basis. The potential growth in financial numbers indicates that its cash returns are safe. Juniper offers a dividend yield of over 3%.