Palo Alto Networks, Inc. (NYSE:PANW) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Palo Alto Networks, Inc. (NYSE:PANW) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday, November 1st.

According to Zacks, “Palo Alto allows firms, service providers and government bodies to impose tighter security measures through its network security platform. 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 the company’s product refreshes and acquisitions synergies will 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. Notably, the stock has outperformed the industry over the last six months. Nonethess, a volatile spending environment and competition from Cisco Systems and Check Point Software Technologies remain concerns.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on PANW. BidaskClub raised shares of Palo Alto Networks from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 11th. Northland Securities set a $175.00 price objective on shares of Palo Alto Networks and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. J P Morgan Chase & Co reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $168.00 target price (up previously from $155.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a report on Sunday, September 3rd. Rosenblatt Securities reissued a “buy” rating and set a $160.00 target price on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a report on Friday, September 1st. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG assumed coverage on Palo Alto Networks in a report on Tuesday, September 5th. They set an “underperform” rating and a $125.00 target price for the company. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have assigned a hold rating and thirty have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $160.33.

Shares of Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) traded up $0.14 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $138.81. 2,041,245 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,300,000. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69, a quick ratio of 1.65 and a current ratio of 1.65. Palo Alto Networks has a one year low of $107.31 and a one year high of $165.69.

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, August 31st. The network technology company reported ($0.13) EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.79 by ($0.92). The company had revenue of $509.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $487.53 million. Palo Alto Networks had a negative return on equity of 19.72% and a negative net margin of 12.57%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 27.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.50 earnings per share. analysts expect that Palo Alto Networks will post -0.5 EPS for the current year.

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In related news, Director Carl M. Eschenbach sold 1,572 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $144.99, for a total value of $227,924.28. Following the transaction, the director now owns 3,619 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $524,718.81. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Nir Zuk sold 28,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $148.05, for a total value of $4,145,400.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 284,744 shares of company stock worth $42,239,296. Company insiders own 4.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in PANW. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its position in Palo Alto Networks by 512.7% during the 2nd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 1,747,339 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $233,811,000 after acquiring an additional 1,462,162 shares in the last quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 13,115.1% in the 2nd quarter. Harbour Capital Advisors LLC now owns 1,172,176 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $8,760,000 after purchasing an additional 1,163,306 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 109.9% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 1,142,533 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $152,883,000 after purchasing an additional 598,115 shares in the last quarter. ETF Managers Group LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Palo Alto Networks in the 2nd quarter worth $48,287,000. Finally, Sirios Capital Management L P acquired a new stake in shares of Palo Alto Networks in the 2nd quarter worth $40,567,000. 77.50% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW)

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