Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) Downgraded to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday, November 13th.

According to Zacks, “Palo Alto allows firms, service providers and government bodies to impose tighter security measures through its network security platform. Estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company’s Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. The decelerating revenue growth trend makes us slightly cautious about Palo Alto's near-term performance. Notably, the company has witnessed over 50% growth in quarterly revenues for nearly two years except in the past four quarters. Moreover, Palo Alto’s revenue growth guidance range of 21% to 24% for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 has increased our concerns. Furthermore, although the company’s billings growth rate of 17% during 4Q17 was higher than Q3 growth rate of 12%, it is still lower than Q1 and Q2 growth rates of 33% and 22%, respectively. The stock has underperformed the industry in the year-to-date period.”

A number of other equities analysts have also weighed in on PANW. Dougherty & Co increased their price target on Palo Alto Networks from $165.00 to $170.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $149.00 price target on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. Oppenheimer reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $173.00 price target on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. ValuEngine raised Palo Alto Networks from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, August 12th. Finally, Maxim Group reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $195.00 price objective (up from $168.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research note on Thursday, September 28th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and thirty-two have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $162.84.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) opened at $143.77 on Monday. Palo Alto Networks has a 52 week low of $107.31 and a 52 week high of $157.65.

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) last announced its earnings results on Monday, November 20th. The network technology company reported $0.74 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.06. Palo Alto Networks had a negative return on equity of 15.77% and a negative net margin of 11.97%. The business had revenue of $505.50 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $489.36 million. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.55 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 27.0% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts expect that Palo Alto Networks will post -0.37 EPS for the current year.

In other Palo Alto Networks news, CMO Rene Bonvanie sold 16,596 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $151.83, for a total value of $2,519,770.68. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief marketing officer now directly owns 95,584 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,512,518.72. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Mark D. Mclaughlin sold 25,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $149.85, for a total value of $3,746,250.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 374,919 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $56,181,612.15. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 329,171 shares of company stock valued at $48,931,891. Insiders own 4.80% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 3.6% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 7,262,069 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $971,738,000 after buying an additional 254,836 shares during the period. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 36.0% during the third quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 2,376,862 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $342,506,000 after buying an additional 629,523 shares during the period. CI Global Investments Inc. boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 2.4% during the second quarter. CI Global Investments Inc. now owns 1,617,837 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $216,483,000 after buying an additional 37,597 shares during the period. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 7.2% during the third quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. now owns 1,387,411 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $199,926,000 after buying an additional 92,622 shares during the period. Finally, Harbour Capital Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 13,115.1% during the second quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC now owns 1,172,176 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $8,760,000 after buying an additional 1,163,306 shares during the period. 79.88% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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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