Why Palo Alto Networks Earnings Are So Great

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When Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) reported its fiscal second-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Monday, the cybersecurity giant said that it had $0.86 in earnings per share (EPS) on $542.4 million in revenue. That compares with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $0.79 in EPS and revenue of $524.98 million. In the same period of last year, the company posted EPS of $0.63 and $422.6 million in revenue.

During the most recent quarter, the company had a GAAP one-time tax benefit of $6.2 million associated with the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which resulted in a benefit to fiscal second-quarter 2018 GAAP earnings per diluted share of $0.07.

Also, Palo Alto had announced that Jean Compeau, formerly senior vice president and accounting and corporate controller, has been named chief accounting officer with ongoing responsibility for accounting and tax functions.

In terms of the outlook for the fiscal third quarter, the company expects to see EPS in the range of $0.94 to $0.96 and revenues between $538 million and $548 million, with total billings of $665 million to $680 million. The consensus estimates call for $0.81 in EPS on $532.68 million in revenue for the quarter.

On the books, Palo Alto Networks cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $1.64 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $1.38 billion at the end of the previous fiscal year.

CEO Mark McLaughlin commented:

We delivered a strong fiscal second quarter with total revenue growing 28 percent year over year to $542.4 million as we saw robust new customer acquisition and expansion in existing accounts. Digital transformation requires security transformation built upon increasing automation, leverage, and consistency, the hallmarks of our Next-Generation Security Platform. We continue to harness the power of innovation to introduce new technology and disrupt traditional consumption models as we help customers solve their most complex security challenges and embrace the benefits of the digital age.

Shares of Palo Alto Networks closed Monday at $169.32, with a consensus analyst price target of $173.54 and a 52-week range of $107.31 to $169.72. Following the announcement, the stock was up about 6% at $180.00 in early trading indications Tuesday.