Share story

NEW YORK — Shares of F5 Networks tumbled 19 percent Friday after the company cut its outlook for the January-March quarter, citing disappointing results from its North American business.

F5 shares closed down $17.12 at $73.21, a new 52-week low.

Seattle-based F5, which sells information technology and networking equipment and services, said telecommunications contract bookings dropped compared with the October-December quarter and the same period in 2012. Revenue from business with the federal government also fell.

The company now expects to report adjusted net income of $1.06 or $1.07 per share for the quarter ended March 31. It said revenue will total about $350.2 million. The company previously forecast adjusted net income of $1.21 to $1.24 per share and $370 million to $380 million in revenue.

Analysts expected income of $1.23 per share and $376.1 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

F5 will report full results for its fiscal second quarter on April 24.

The news prompted William Blair analyst Jason Ader to cut his rating for the company’s stock to “Market Perform” from “Outperform.” Adler said that while the company insists that the shortfall was mainly the result of timing, it appears that the company is starting to feel competitive pressures. He’s also skeptical of F5’s ability to expand its security business, which is also competitive.

Citi analyst Kevin Dennean also cut his rating for F5 to “Neutral” from “Buy” and reduced his price target by $45 to $80.