What Analysts Are Saying About Palo Alto Networks After Earnings

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When Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) reported its fiscal third-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Wednesday, the cybersecurity firm seemed to have an incredible quarter, but some might say that it cleared a low bar. Nonetheless, investors were happy to see these results and sent the shares higher. Analysts took this opportunity to adjust their targets on the stock as well.

24/7 Wall St. has included some brief highlights from the earnings report, as well as what analysts are saying about Palo Alto after the fact.

The company posted $0.61 in earnings per share (EPS) and $431.8 million in revenue for the quarter. That compared with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for EPS of $0.55 and $411.92 million in revenue. The same period of last year reportedly had $0.46 in EPS and revenue of $345.8 million.

In terms of guidance for the fiscal fourth-quarter, the company expects to see EPS in the range of $0.78 to $0.80 and revenues between $481 million and $491 million.

Jefferies reiterated a Buy rating and raised its price target to $155 from $150. The firm said in its report:

Palo Alto Networks exceeded the relatively low bar set by guidance, but business metrics were also modestly better than in the previous quarter. There has been discussion on the cause of the recent business moderation and while sales execution and competitive dynamics may have had some effect, we believe the primary issue had to do with a product cycle. We believe fourth quarter guidance is prudent and may prove conservative, similar to our fiscal 2018 estimates that are above the Street’s.

Oppenheimer reiterated an Outperform rating with a $173 price target. It was quick to comment:

We view this as a sigh of relief on the heels of prior quarters’ execution issues. … We believe the quick turnaround from issues arising in the fiscal second quarter lifts investor confidence and could continue unlock more value in shares as 2017 unfolds.

A few other analysts weighed in after earnings as well:

  • Barclays reiterated its Overweight rating and raised its target price to $158 from $145.
  • BMO Capital Markets reiterated it as Market Perform but raised its target to $150 from $126.
  • Cowen raised its price target to $165 from $150.
  • Dougherty raised its price target to $155 from $135.
  • Deutsche Bank reiterated a Hold rating but raised its target from $125 to $135.
  • JMP Securities raised its price target to $165 from $155.
  • Monness Crespi & Hardt has a Buy rating and adjusted its price target from $150 to $155.
  • Robert W. Baird reiterated its Hold rating.
  • Stifel raises target price to $180 from $170.

Shares of Palo Alto were last seen up 14% at $135.56 on Thursday, with a consensus analyst price target of $142.97 and a 52-week range of $107.31 to $165.69.