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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Cisco Systems, Verizon Communications, Juniper Networks, Hewlett-Packard and F5 Networks

CHICAGO, Dec. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:CSCO), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Juniper Networks, Inc (NYSE:JNPR), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) and F5 Networks, Inc (Nasdaq:FFIV).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Cisco Closes Cariden Buyout

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:CSCO) recently completed its acquisition of privately-held Cariden Technologies. The company spent $141 million in cash and retention-based incentives for the acquisition. The deal was announced last month.

California-based Cariden Technologies' traffic management solutions help service providers to optimize the operation of their networks. Its main customers include Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Deutsche Telecom, SingTel and Swisscom.

Cariden will now become a part of Cisco's Service Provider Networking Group unit, augmenting Cisco's offering to service providers. The integration of Cariden's network software will further Cisco's strategy of increasing its software-centric solutions to streamline network management. The deal will allow the company to expand and differentiate its offerings with regard to networking infrastructure.

Management stated that the acquisition will enable telecom service providers to improve the visibility, programmability and efficiency of converged networks, ultimately growing their businesses. Additionally, the deal supports Cisco's Open Network Environment strategy, also known as Cisco ONE, which aims to help businesses increase infrastructure agility, simplify operations and instill greater application visibility and awareness.

Cisco is on an acquisition spree. Earlier, in November, the company had announced its intention to acquire Meraki and Cloupia for $1.2 billion and $125 million, respectively, as part of its cloud and networking expansion strategy.

Cisco Systems is a leading provider of IP-based networking and other products. The company's first-quarter earnings of 44 cents beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents. Reported revenue was up 5.5% from the year-ago quarter.

Although Cisco is taking steps to lower its cost structure by reducing headcount, it is not ignoring growth opportunities.

We believe that these acquisitions will broaden Cisco's customer base and network offerings, providing the company with a significant competitive edge over its peers, namely Juniper Networks, Inc (NYSE:JNPR), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) and F5 Networks, Inc (Nasdaq:FFIV), which have been picking up market share.

Currently, Cisco has a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

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Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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