Palo Alto Networks (PANW) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Palo Alto Networks offers network security solutions to enterprises, service providers and government entities worldwide. Of late, estimates have remained stable for the company. We remain encouraged by Palo Alto Network’s healthy demand environment, new product launches and increasing adoption of its next-generation security platforms. Revenue growth seems to be steady, aided by strength across all its geographical regions and business segments. Also, customer wins coupled with expansion of the existing customer base are the other positives. We believe that synergies from acquisitions will also boost revenues, going forward. Also, the strategic partnerships with the likes of VMware, Splunk and Citrix, will continue to bring in customers for Palo Alto thereby boosting the top line. Nonetheless, a volatile spending environment and competition from peers remain concerns. The company has underperformed the industry over the past year.”

PANW has been the topic of several other research reports. Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating and set a $183.00 price objective (up previously from $168.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued an “overweight” rating and set a $173.00 price objective (up previously from $155.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. Royal Bank of Canada upped their price objective on shares of Palo Alto Networks from $159.00 to $175.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. Maxim Group reissued a “buy” rating and set a $195.00 price objective (up previously from $168.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research note on Thursday, September 28th. Finally, Evercore ISI raised shares of Palo Alto Networks from an “in-line” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $180.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Thursday, January 18th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and thirty-three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $166.84.

Shares of Palo Alto Networks (PANW) traded up $5.66 on Tuesday, hitting $159.53. 1,706,821 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,211,053. The stock has a market capitalization of $14,660.00, a P/E ratio of -64.85 and a beta of 0.99. Palo Alto Networks has a fifty-two week low of $107.31 and a fifty-two week high of $160.00.

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Monday, November 20th. The network technology company reported $0.74 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $505.50 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate 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 company’s quarterly revenue was up 27.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.55 earnings per share. analysts forecast that Palo Alto Networks will post -0.37 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, CEO Mark D. Mclaughlin sold 35,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $149.50, for a total value of $5,232,500.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 348,901 shares in the company, valued at approximately $52,160,699.50. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Mark D. Mclaughlin sold 25,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $149.85, for a total transaction of $3,746,250.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 374,919 shares in the company, valued at $56,181,612.15. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 354,644 shares of company stock valued at $52,415,318. 4.80% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of PANW. Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new position in shares of Palo Alto Networks in the 4th quarter worth about $127,000. Sun Life Financial INC lifted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 785.0% in the 2nd quarter. Sun Life Financial INC now owns 1,000 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $134,000 after buying an additional 887 shares during the last quarter. Penserra Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Palo Alto Networks in the 3rd quarter worth about $162,000. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. lifted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 495.2% in the 3rd quarter. Benjamin F. Edwards & Company Inc. now owns 1,232 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $178,000 after buying an additional 1,025 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. lifted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 30.0% in the 2nd quarter. Migdal Insurance & Financial Holdings Ltd. now owns 1,396 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $188,000 after buying an additional 322 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 79.90% of the company’s stock.

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Palo Alto Networks Company Profile

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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