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Juniper cuts Q1 outlook on economic worries, CFO to depart

The outlook and CFO departure overshadowed a strong fourth quarter report.

Juniper Networks reported a solid fourth quarter, but a weak outlook and the departure of its chief financial officer put a damper on the results.

The company said that Robyn Denholm, CFO and operations chief, will resign after Juniper files its annual report. Ken Miller, senior vice president of finance, will take over as CFO.

Juniper's outlook was also a big issue. The company said that "given the uncertainty of the near term global macro environment and potential lumpiness in customer investment patterns" its results for the first quarter would be light.

According to the company, first quarter sales will be about $1.17 billion give or take $20 million. Non-GAAP earnings for the first quarter will be between 42 cents a share and 46 cents a share.

Wall Street was expecting Juniper to report sales of $1.19 billion for the first quarter with non-GAAP earnings of 47 cents a share.

Juniper reported fourth earnings of $197.8 million, or 51 cents a share, on revenue of $1.32 billion, up 20 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings were 63 cents a share. Wall Street expected non-GAAP earnings of 60 cents a share on revenue of $1.3 billion.

CEO Rami Rahim outlined why Juniper was conservative with its outlook:

I actually feel good about the way that we're executing and about the fundamentals of the business, the need for the kinds of technologies, how are products that were developing and innovating and we are going to be addressing those requirements in 2016. I just believe that as we start 2016 and you see the incredible amount of volatility in the market across really across all markets and all geos, it's a good idea for us to plan and manage the business with the assumption that there could be some lumpiness. I don't think as I said it's specific to any one particular vertical.