Needham has upgraded Nimble Storage (NMBL +11%) to Strong Buy, and William Blair has upped shares to Outperform.
"While today's market may shirk high-multiple tech names, not all were created equal," declares Needham's Richard Kugele. He thinks Nimble, which posted 107% Y/Y rev. growth in the December quarter, can grow at a 50%+ annual clip over the next several years, a rate that justifies a $35/share valuation (7x EV/sales). He also notes the $3B+ valuation assigned to peer Pure Storage.
Blair's Jason Ader is upbeat about the pending arrival of Fibre Channel support for Nimble's hybrid flash/hard drive arrays, and general availability of its scale-out storage software. He sees the product updates allowing Nimble to expand beyond the mid-range storage market and keep taking share from "vulnerable incumbents."
During its FQ1 CC (transcript), Nimble said it already had 200 customers deploying its scale-out software, which allows the company to address a fast-growing market for distributed/clustered storage solutions.
Prior to today's move, shares had fallen 64% from a post-IPO peak of $58 amid a general rout in richly-valued tech momentum plays.