Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) Earns Neutral Rating from Analysts at Piper Jaffray Companies

Analysts at Piper Jaffray Companies initiated coverage on shares of Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) in a note issued to investors on Friday, Benzinga’s Daily Ratings Newsletter reports. The firm set a “neutral” rating and a $270.00 price target on the network technology company’s stock. Piper Jaffray Companies’ target price points to a potential upside of 14.41% from the stock’s previous close.

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. SunTrust Banks assumed coverage on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research report on Wednesday, October 2nd. They issued a “buy” rating and a $246.00 price objective for the company. Wedbush reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $275.00 price target on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a report on Thursday, September 5th. Robert W. Baird set a $275.00 price target on shares of Palo Alto Networks and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, September 15th. Bank of America lowered their price target on shares of Palo Alto Networks from $307.00 to $275.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, August 20th. Finally, Rosenblatt Securities started coverage on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a report on Monday, September 9th. They set a “hold” rating and a $220.00 price target for the company. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, twenty-five have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $261.03.

NYSE:PANW traded up $2.13 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $235.99. 198,753 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 938,257. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.90, a current ratio of 1.78 and a quick ratio of 1.78. The firm has a market cap of $22.68 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 374.59 and a beta of 0.99. Palo Alto Networks has a 52-week low of $160.08 and a 52-week high of $260.63. The stock has a 50 day simple moving average of $215.30 and a 200 day simple moving average of $215.75.

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, September 4th. The network technology company reported $0.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.27 by ($0.08). Palo Alto Networks had a positive return on equity of 4.82% and a negative net margin of 2.82%. The business had revenue of $805.80 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $803.56 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $1.28 EPS. Palo Alto Networks’s revenue was up 22.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Palo Alto Networks will post -0.05 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other Palo Alto Networks news, Director Mark D. Mclaughlin sold 40,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $207.78, for a total transaction of $8,311,200.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 240,236 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $49,916,236.08. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Kathleen Bonanno sold 1,610 shares of Palo Alto Networks stock in a transaction that occurred on Sunday, October 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $214.74, for a total transaction of $345,731.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 46,636 shares in the company, valued at approximately $10,014,614.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 77,610 shares of company stock worth $16,437,971. 2.30% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 2.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 8,343,076 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $1,699,985,000 after acquiring an additional 179,388 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc lifted its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 1.2% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 7,709,183 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $1,736,571,000 after acquiring an additional 94,743 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 4.2% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 5,683,627 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $1,158,096,000 after purchasing an additional 230,170 shares during the period. Jennison Associates LLC raised its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 11.4% in the third quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 5,312,533 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $846,446,000 after purchasing an additional 543,980 shares during the period. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 13.2% in the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 5,074,350 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $1,033,950,000 after purchasing an additional 590,200 shares during the period. 78.77% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW)

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