Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Wednesday.
According to Zacks, “Fortinet reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2017 results. The year over year comparisons were also favorable on both the counts. Notably, Fortinet has outperformed the industry in the last one year. Going ahead, we believe that the company’s strategy of focusing on selling subscription-based services will enable it to generate more stable revenues and help in expanding margins. Furthermore, acquisitions are a major positive for Fortinet as these help it to strengthen its product portfolio and capabilities, thereby boosting its top-line performance. Nonetheless, we are slightly concerned over the company’s declining revenue growth rate. Notably, over the last six quarters, the company’s revenue growth rates have been around 20%, which are significantly lower than its previous rates of over 30%. Also, a tepid first quarter revenue outlook makes us slightly cautious about its near-term performance.”
FTNT has been the topic of a number of other research reports. UBS Group raised their price objective on shares of Fortinet from $46.00 to $47.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, October 27th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut shares of Fortinet from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $50.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, December 12th. Barclays raised their price objective on shares of Fortinet from $48.00 to $50.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 6th. Deutsche Bank cut shares of Fortinet from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $46.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, January 23rd. Finally, Citigroup cut shares of Fortinet from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research note on Friday, January 26th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating, thirteen have assigned a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $47.67.
Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 5th. The software maker reported $0.32 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.29 by $0.03. Fortinet had a net margin of 2.10% and a return on equity of 11.77%. The company had revenue of $416.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $409.04 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.30 EPS. Fortinet’s revenue for the quarter was up 14.9% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Fortinet will post 0.74 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Fortinet declared that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Thursday, October 26th that permits the company to repurchase $400.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the software maker to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
In other news, VP John Whittle sold 13,749 shares of Fortinet stock in a transaction on Tuesday, December 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.00, for a total transaction of $618,705.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 18,430 shares in the company, valued at approximately $829,350. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Ken Xie sold 89,423 shares of Fortinet stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.08, for a total value of $4,031,188.84. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 12,608,811 shares in the company, valued at approximately $568,405,199.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 208,967 shares of company stock worth $9,357,590 in the last 90 days. 17.00% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of FTNT. Quantitative Investment Management LLC purchased a new stake in Fortinet in the 4th quarter valued at about $11,027,000. BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd purchased a new stake in Fortinet in the 4th quarter valued at about $2,957,000. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans raised its holdings in Fortinet by 4.9% in the 4th quarter. Thrivent Financial For Lutherans now owns 434,802 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $18,996,000 after buying an additional 20,275 shares during the period. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its holdings in Fortinet by 0.5% in the 4th quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 4,418,500 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $193,044,000 after buying an additional 22,700 shares during the period. Finally, Koch Industries Inc. purchased a new stake in Fortinet in the 4th quarter valued at about $278,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 70.68% of the company’s stock.
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Fortinet, Inc is a network security company. The Company provides cyber security solutions to a range of enterprises, service providers and government organizations across the world. Its network security solution consists of FortiGate physical, virtual machine and cloud platforms, which provide integrated security and networking functions to protect data, applications and users from network-and content-level security threats.
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