Optical component vendors JDS Uniphase (JDSU +4.3%), Finisar (FNSR +3.4%), Oplink (OPLK +3.2%), Oclaro (OCLR +3.6%), and Alliance Fiber (AFOP +2.5%) have all rallied on a quiet day of trading, and so has client Ciena (CIEN +2.7%). No news has hit the wires to explain the gains.
JDS, Oclaro, and Alliance Fiber all sold off in recent weeks (I, II, III) after providing disappointing guidance in their calendar Q2 reports. JDS (like Juniper following its Q2 report) observed soft North American wireline capex is pressuring industry sales.
Ciena (CIEN +1.9%) is catching a bid following vague M&A chatter. The gains come even though Cisco just reported an 11% Y/Y drop in service provider orders for the July quarter, and stated it expects carrier demand to remain soft for several quarters.
Ciena fell yesterday in response to JDS Uniphase's weak guidance and cautious CC commentary. Its FQ3 report is due on Sep. 4.
B. Riley and Piper have downgraded JDS Uniphase (JDSU -8.9%) following its light Sep. quarter outlook. Each cites the impact of soft carrier spending.
B. Riley's Dave Kang (downgrade to Neutral) notes the AT&T/DirecTV deal has affected Ma Bell's spending (previous), and that industry demand is pressured by a transition to software-defined networking (SDN) architectures that's still in its early stages.
Kang: "In hindsight, we significantly under-estimated the potential impact of the SDN transition on the telecom equipment industry." He notes the transition is hurting JDS' test equipment/software sales (expected to fall to $160M-$175M in FQ1 from $199M in FQ4) more than its optical component sales. Optical component/laser division sales are expected to total $200M-$210M in FQ1 vs. $196.9M in FQ4.
On the CC (transcript), CEO Tom Waechter admitted North American carriers "have ratcheted down wireline spending" (echoes of Juniper), and that wireless investments "have been tepid due to rapid changes in network technology architectures." On the other hand, he states component demand "remains healthy with notable strength in Datacom, 100G modulators and China's infrastructure spend."
Ciena (CIEN -2.7%) and Fabrinet (FN -3%) have joined the ranks of companies following JDS lower. Cisco reports after the bell.
Juniper's (JNPR -9.8%) soft Q3 guidance, along with its related commentary on U.S. telco demand, is taking a toll on fellow telecom equipment suppliers Cisco (CSCO -1.2%), Ciena (CIEN -3.2%), Cyan (CYNI -2.5%), Zhone (ZHNE -6.5%) Ruckus (RKUS -1.6%), and Sonus (SONS -3.8%).
Optical component vendors JDS Uniphase (JDSU -2.9%) and Finisar (FNSR -2%) are also off, as are several chipmakers (previous) with heavy networking/telecom exposure.
On its CC (transcript), Juniper stated "market dynamics including M&A activity" are affecting the "sequencing and timing" of U.S. carrier projects. Jefferies reported in June AT&T has significantly cut its wireline capex in the wake of the DirecTV deal.
Juniper insists it remains well-positioned with the aforementioned U.S. carriers, and that it has "major design wins" for next-gen projects. The company adds demand remains healthy with U.S. federal, cable, and Internet clients.
The company's router revenue rose 7% Y/Y in Q2 to $617.8M, and its switch revenue rose 25% to $199.8M. Security product revenue fell 8% to $111.6M. The Junos Pulse VPN software ops (about to be sold for $250M) contributed $31.4M in revenue ($15.9M product, $15.5M service).
Jefferies reports AT&T (T -0.1%) significantly cut its wireline capex starting last month.
It thinks many companies could be affected, including equipment vendors Alcatel-Lucent (ALU -2.2%), Ciena (CIEN -3.9%), Juniper (JNPR +0.2%), and Adtran (ADTN -5.1%), and component vendors JDS Uniphase (JDSU -2%) and Finisar (FNSR -0.7%).
As its is, AT&T's 2014 capex budget ($21B) is down $200M from 2013's spending level. Moreover, the carrier's huge mobile infrastructure needs and the DirecTV deal could be motivating it to cut wireline spend.
In addition to beating Q1 estimates, Infinera (INFN +5.9%) guided on its CC (transcript) for Q2 revenue of $160M-$170M and EPS of $0.02-$0.06 vs. a consensus of $156.3M and $0.05. As is its custom, rival Ciena (CIEN +5.8%) is following Infinera higher.
Thanks to a favorable mix, Q1 gross margin was 41.8%, +40 bps Q/Q and +590 bps Y/Y, and above guidance of 40%. Infinera only forecasts a GM of 39%-41% for Q2 due to the margin pressure caused by new large-footprint deployments, but still expects a low-40s GM for the full year and future margin gains as it fulfills capacity expansion orders for major deployments.
Strong North American demand allowed revenue to grow 3% Q/Q in seasonally weak Q1. Infinera had two 10%+ customers - a cable MSO and a tier-1 North American carrier, and added one more client for its dense/high-capacity DTN-X optical transmission platform, raising the total to 42.
Not surprisingly, a positive outlook was provided for the 100G optical market, where the company and Ciena have leading positions. Infinera says it's confident it can outgrow the broader 100G market in 2014.
Ciena (CIEN -8%) guided during its investor day for its FY14 (ends Oct. '14) op. margin to be at the low end of the company's 7%-10% target range.
Citi (Neutral) thinks the forecast suggests ~10% op. margins are still a ways off. "While we have become believers in the sustainability of Ciena’s product cycle, op margin expansion seems to still be coming in fits and starts challenging the earnings power of the company and making it difficult to currently argue for more than a 20x P/E on our CY14 $1.24 est."
William Blair (Outperform) notes the forecast implies a fiscal 1H op. margin of 5%, but also a fiscal 2H margin near 10%. The firm is slightly upping its FY14 and FY15 EPS estimates.
Ciena also guided for FY14 opex to total $820M, up just slightly from an FY13 level of $810M (exc. restructuring/amortization costs). Revenue growth is expected to exceed mid-to-high single digit market growth; Ciena's rev. growth consensus already stands at 10.4%.
Stifel's Sanjiv Wadhwani has upgraded Infinera (INFN +5.5%) to Buy. Following meetings at last week's OFC 2014 optical networking industry conference, Wadhwani believes demand for 100G systems "is now on a much more global scale versus a year ago," with activity having picked up in Europe and parts of Asia.
Ciena (CIEN +3.8%), also a major player in the 100G optical transport space, is following Infinera higher. Both companies (as well as several peers) rallied last week after Goldman upgraded Infinera and Calix, while estimating 100G systems have a 15% gross margin edge relative to 10G systems.
Component makers Finisar (FNSR +2.3%), Oclaro (OCLR +2.6%), and Alliance Fiber (AFOP +3.8%), each of which also have 100G exposure, are rallying as well.
Goldman's upgrades of Infinera (INFN +14.9%) and Calix (CALX +2.8%) wound up sparking a broader rally telecom equipment and optical component makers. Notable gainers: FNSR +6.2%. UBNT +6.7%. CYNI +5.1%. CIEN +3.8%. JDSU +5.4%. AFOP +3.4%. NPTN +3.4%. ADTN +2.8%. FN +2.2%.
Goldman's Simona Jankowski believes Infinera, which recently lost a major Verizon deal to Alcatel-Lucent, has regained Level 3 as a client. She also estimates 100G optical system shipments "have approximately a 15% point gross margin advantage" relative to 10G counterparts, and sees this delta boosting Infinera's margins as 100G "increases from mid-50% of total product revenue in 2013 to mid-70% in 2014."
Regarding Calix, Jankowski reports seeing better spending trends among the tier 2/3 carriers the company leans heavily on, and thinks 2014/2015 estimates now "more accurately reflect" Calix's growth trajectory.
Today's gains come as the optical networking industry's OFC 2014 conference continues. As usual, the conference has seen a slew of product launches. Ciena has followed Infinera (previous) in launching software tools for intelligently controlling a network's optical layers, and JDS Uniphase is showing off several new components and modules.
Though Ciena's (CIEN +2.1%) FQ1 revenue was only in-line, its gross margin (43.4%, +260 bps Q/Q and -120 bps Y/Y) and opex ($199.8M, -5% Q/Q and +13% Y/Y) were favorable to guidance for a low-40s GM and $205M in opex. That, in turn, helped EPS beat by $0.07.
Ciena expects FQ2 revenue of $540M-$570M, in-line with a $561.1M consensus. GM is again expected to be in the low-40s range, and opex is expected to rise to $210M.
Sales of integrated Ethernet switching/optical networking gear rose 39% Y/Y in FQ1 to $333.4M (62.5% of revenue). Software/services sales -1% to $108.5M; Ethernet switching +13% to $51.7M; optical transport -30% to $40.1M.
Optical networking rival Infinera (INFN +4.5%) is also higher. The company recently launched a solution it claims can automate/control both the digital switching and optical transport layers of an optical network. The solution, part of a broader trend towards building networks that offer more optical layer intelligence and flexibility, is expected to ship in September.