Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Thursday.
According to Zacks, “Palo Alto is benefiting from product strength and its growing adoption among clients. Strong demand environment, product launches and increasing acceptance of its next-generation security platforms are a tailwind. Customer wins coupled with expansion of the existing customer base are other positives. The company’s buyouts of LightCyber, Secdo and RedLock will consistently broaden its portfolio and global reach. The stock has outperformed the industry in the past year. Estimates have been stable ahead of the company’s second-quarter earnings release. The company boasts an impressive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Nonetheless, competition from several small and big players remains a concern. Heavy investments to enhance its sales and marketing capabilities, particularly by increasing the sales force, are an overhang on the operating margins.”
PANW has been the topic of several other research reports. Raymond James restated a buy rating on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a report on Sunday, December 2nd. BMO Capital Markets decreased their price target on Palo Alto Networks from $260.00 to $205.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a report on Friday, November 30th. First Analysis upgraded Palo Alto Networks from an outperform rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $240.00 price target on the stock in a report on Friday, November 30th. Credit Suisse Group reduced their target price on Palo Alto Networks from $185.00 to $160.00 and set an underweight rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, November 30th. Finally, Wedbush began coverage on Palo Alto Networks in a research note on Thursday, October 18th. They issued a neutral rating and a $225.00 target price on the stock. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating, thirty-three have given a buy rating and three have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $244.76.
NYSE:PANW opened at $224.62 on Thursday. Palo Alto Networks has a fifty-two week low of $148.41 and a fifty-two week high of $239.50. The firm has a market cap of $21.31 billion, a P/E ratio of -408.40, a P/E/G ratio of 13.47 and a beta of 0.91. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.10, a quick ratio of 2.10 and a current ratio of 2.10.
Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 29th. The network technology company reported ($0.01) earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.03) by $0.02. Palo Alto Networks had a negative return on equity of 1.72% and a negative net margin of 5.04%. The company had revenue of $656.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $632.16 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.74 EPS. Palo Alto Networks’s quarterly revenue was up 30.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts forecast that Palo Alto Networks will post 0.71 EPS for the current year.
In other news, Director Stanley J. Meresman sold 1,958 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, December 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $177.48, for a total transaction of $347,505.84. Following the transaction, the director now owns 1,658 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $294,261.84. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director Mark D. Mclaughlin sold 40,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, February 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $216.37, for a total value of $8,654,800.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 157,024 shares of company stock worth $31,265,111 in the last three months. Corporate insiders own 3.10% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of PANW. Karp Capital Management Corp bought a new position in shares of Palo Alto Networks during the 4th quarter worth $40,000. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. boosted its position in Palo Alto Networks by 26.6% during the fourth quarter. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. now owns 262 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $49,000 after purchasing an additional 55 shares in the last quarter. Bollard Group LLC bought a new stake in Palo Alto Networks during the fourth quarter valued at about $57,000. Optimum Investment Advisors bought a new stake in Palo Alto Networks during the fourth quarter valued at about $75,000. Finally, North Star Investment Management Corp. boosted its position in Palo Alto Networks by 28.6% during the fourth quarter. North Star Investment Management Corp. now owns 450 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $85,000 after purchasing an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. 80.37% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Palo Alto Networks
Palo Alto Networks, Inc provides security platform solutions worldwide. The company provides firewall appliances and software; Panorama, a security management solution for the control of appliances deployed on an end-customer’s network as a virtual or a physical appliance; and Virtual System Upgrades, which are available as extensions to the virtual system capacity that ships with physical appliances.
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