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Juniper Faces Challenges

WR Hambrecht & Co. initiated coverage of Juniper Networks Inc. with a "market underperform" rating, citing the soft capital-spending environment. In a report, analyst Reginal King wrote that Juniper could become a long-term leader in the telecom equipment industry — it has a comprehensive line of products and a strong management team — but it faces challenges, including a downturn in capital spending. "We find it difficult to justify Juniper's current premium valuation, which is our primary concern," King wrote. "Currently Juniper trades at a premium to its peer group on both a forward [price-to-sales and price-to-earnings] basis and based on our analysis, we believe that fair value is approximately $4.50." Juniper stock closed at $9.21 per share on July 17, up 90 cents each, or nearly 11 percent.