The Zacks Communication-Network Software industry is suffering from supply-chain disruptions, as well as a shortage of components. A macroeconomic slowdown, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, raging inflation and heightened price competition are hurting industry participants. Small and medium businesses have deferred capital spending on infrastructure buildout due to higher interest rates and inflation, which does not bode well for industry participants. Nevertheless, companies like Weave Communications WEAV, Ribbon Communications RBBN and Kaleyra KLR are gaining from the ongoing digitalization efforts that include a shift to cloud computing and rapid deployment of 5G-based networks. The strong demand for network security benefits industry participants as a secure environment is required to run cloud-based applications.
The Zacks Communication-Network Software Industry comprises companies that provide software solutions supporting cloud, on-premise and hybrid environments, communication technology solutions, including broadband and Voice Over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”), digital communication services delivered as software-as-a-service, and telecom solutions, supporting the proliferation and the deployment of 5G and 6G networks of the future. There are a few companies that offer solutions based on the Open Radio Access Network standard. Others offer wireless connectivity solutions for mission-critical Industrial Internet applications and services. Solutions from these companies support a variety of industries, including telecommunications, technology, industrial, government, retail, financial, gaming and education.
3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Communication-Network Software Industry
Increased Adoption of Cloud-based Solutions: Rapid digitalization, driven by the disruption caused by the pandemic, has increased the demand for cloud-based applications, virtualized software and container-based software. Applications are being developed in the cloud, which is creating opportunities, and, at the same time, challenges for industry participants in terms of performance and security. Rising cyber-attacks, including Distributed Denial of Service attacks and attacks using malware through Transport Layer Security and Secure Sockets Layer protocols, are redefining the cyber threat landscape. Enterprises are spending more on cloud-based security solutions. Moreover, the software-defined approach is increasingly getting preferred over legacy hardware-centric models due to the need for agility.
Growing Importance of Automation Tools: The ongoing rapid transition to the cloud has increased the importance of automation tools. Enterprises are adopting automated tools to deploy and operate security and application services. This is improving performance monitoring and detection, reporting of security anomalies, and reducing overall costs.
Rapid Evolution of 5G and 6G Networks: Industry participants are benefiting from a continued rise in demand for data-intensive bandwidth and the need for reduced latency associated with smartphones, tablets and machine-to-machine communication. The proliferation of data centers, big data, cloud-based services, streaming media content and IoT is a key catalyst. The rapid deployment of 5G networks is creating a massive growth opportunity for telecom providers who are using solutions provided by industry participants.
Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright Prospects
The Zacks Communication-Network Software industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer And Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #96, which places it in the top 38% of more than 250 Zacks industries.
The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bright near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.
There are a few stocks worth buying in this prosperous industry. But before we present these stocks, it is worth looking at the industry’s shareholder returns and current valuation first.
Industry Lags Sector and S&P 500
The Zacks Communication-Network Software industry has underperformed the Zacks S&P 500 composite and its sector in the past year.
The industry has declined 34.2% over this period against the Zacks Computer and Technology sector’s rise of 11.9% and the S&P 500’s increase of 2.9%.
One-Year Price Performance
Industry’s Current Valuation
On the basis of trailing 12-month EV/Sales, a commonly used multiple for valuing network software companies, we see that the industry is currently trading at 1.77X compared with the S&P 500’s 3.26X and the sector’s 3.2X.
Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 3.66X, as low as 0.28X and at the median of 1.46X, as the chart below shows.
EV/Sales Ratio (TTM)
3 Stocks to Buy Right Now
Ribbon: The Plano, TX-based company currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Ribbon is benefiting from higher Cloud & Edge sales driven by increased sales to enterprises. Its initiative to improve operating efficiency by lowering expenses boosts prospects.
RBBN stock has declined 0.3% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Ribbon’s 2023 earnings has increased by a couple of cents to 27 cents per share over the past 30 days.
Price and Consensus: RBBN
Kaleyra: This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company provides mobile communication services to financial institutions, e-commerce players, over-the-top media providers, software companies, logistic enablers, healthcare providers, retailers, and other large organizations worldwide.
Italy-based Kaleyra has lost 10.7% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for KLR’s current-year loss has widened from 77 cents per share to 14 cents over the past 30 days.
Price and Consensus: KLR
Weave: This Zacks Rank #2 company is a leading provider of all-in-one customer communications and engagement software platforms for small and medium-sized businesses.
Lehi, UT-based Weave has gained 73.4% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for WEAV’s current-year loss has narrowed from 29 cents per share to 25 cents in the past 30 days.
Price and Consensus: WEAV
5 Stocks Set to Double
Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%.
Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.
Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
Weave Communications, Inc. (WEAV) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Ribbon Communications Inc. (RBBN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Kaleyra, Inc. (KLR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.