Equities research analysts forecast that Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) will post earnings per share (EPS) of $0.79 for the current quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Thirteen analysts have provided estimates for Palo Alto Networks’ earnings, with estimates ranging from $0.79 to $0.81. Palo Alto Networks posted earnings per share of $0.63 in the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 25.4%. The company is expected to report its next earnings results on Tuesday, February 27th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Palo Alto Networks will report full year earnings of $3.39 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.36 to $3.41. For the next year, analysts anticipate that the business will post earnings of $4.20 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.94 to $4.49. Zacks’ EPS calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side research firms that follow Palo Alto Networks.

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, November 20th. The network technology company reported $0.74 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $505.50 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $489.36 million. Palo Alto Networks had a negative net margin of 11.97% and a negative return on equity of 15.77%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 27.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.55 EPS.

PANW has been the topic of several analyst reports. Dougherty & Co increased their price target on shares of Palo Alto Networks from $165.00 to $170.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. Maxim Group restated a “buy” rating and issued a $195.00 target price (up previously from $168.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Palo Alto Networks from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $164.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, October 10th. Oppenheimer restated a “buy” rating and issued a $173.00 target price on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. Finally, Northland Securities set a $175.00 target price on shares of Palo Alto Networks and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and thirty-two have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $164.89.

In related news, insider Nir Zuk sold 28,000 shares of Palo Alto Networks stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $148.05, for a total transaction of $4,145,400.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, President Mark Anderson sold 15,614 shares of Palo Alto Networks stock in a transaction on Monday, December 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $144.16, for a total transaction of $2,250,914.24. Following the transaction, the president now directly owns 186,413 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $26,873,298.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 354,644 shares of company stock valued at $52,415,318 in the last three months. 4.80% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 3.6% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 7,262,069 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $971,738,000 after purchasing an additional 254,836 shares in the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. increased its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 36.0% in the third quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 2,376,862 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $342,506,000 after purchasing an additional 629,523 shares in the last quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. increased its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 7.2% in the third quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. now owns 1,387,411 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $199,926,000 after purchasing an additional 92,622 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp increased its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 109.9% in the second quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,142,533 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $152,883,000 after purchasing an additional 598,115 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. increased its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 35.5% in the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,068,289 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $153,798,000 after purchasing an additional 279,602 shares in the last quarter. 79.91% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Palo Alto Networks (NYSE PANW) opened at $153.52 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $14,110.00, a P/E ratio of -62.41 and a beta of 0.99. Palo Alto Networks has a 52-week low of $107.31 and a 52-week high of $157.65.

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About Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks, Inc offers a next-generation security platform. The Company’s security platform consists of three elements: Next-Generation Firewall, Advanced Endpoint Protection and Threat Intelligence Cloud. Its Next-Generation Firewall delivers application, user and content visibility and control, as well as protection against network-based cyber threats integrated within the firewall through its hardware and software architecture.

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