Shares of Palo Alto Networks Inc. reached an all-time high on Wednesday, with nearly half of analysts exceeding their price targets after the cybersecurity company canceled its quarterly results last Tuesday and rolled out a new automated security product.
Palo Alto Networks
PANW, + 8.21%
Shares closed up 8.2% to $ 254.89, after peaking at $ 260.63 for the all-time highest level, breaking a record high of $ 236.23 on the 12th September. In comparison, the S & P 500 index
ended down less than 0.1%, the Nasdaq Composite, a high-tech index
COMP + 0.07%
closed down less than 0.1%, and the ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF
HACK, + 1.31%
increased by 1.3%.
Late Tuesday, Palo Alto Networks announced a new program of repurchase of shares of one billion dollars. Analysts joined forces to praise Palo Alto Networks' results, but they also focused on launching the Cortex XDR product, which Palo Alto Networks called "the only open, integrated, open-source security platform based on # 39; IA. "
The surging push for cybersecurity products enabled by artificial intelligence is intended to cater to the growing number of security agents who have to deal with a growing number of threats. Palo Alto Networks has spent the past 12 months making acquisitions totaling more than $ 1 billion. five companies.
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Joel Fishbein, an analyst at BTIG, who obtained a purchase price and raised his price target from $ 270 to $ 285, said the Cortex ads and the Traps 6.0 Traps device protection product of the company "we force to rethink the competitive dynamics in several subspaces ".
"The management's decision to offer Traps 6.0 for free with Cortex XDR is a testament to its commitment to more customer data domains, but also to its recognition that smart tactics are needed to do so," Fishbein wrote.
Jefferies analyst John DiFucci, who bought and raised his price target to $ 246 from $ 249 to $ 296, called Cortex "a product that goes beyond a conventional detection and response product." In this integrated network and cloud data.
DiFucci said Palo Alto Networks "is convinced that the long-term end goal in the endpoint market is that buyers will turn to suppliers with the most data because they will provide the most efficient security" .
Stifel analyst Gur Talpaz, who obtained a purchase price, raised his price target from $ 240 to $ 280. He said the company's vision was beginning to materialize, particularly with Cortex.
"As we have already indicated, Palo Alto has essentially done a good job of moving from the primary focus of prevention to the goal of improving the response and the safety of its customers," he said. Talpaz.
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JPMorgan Sterling Auty, which is overweight and raised its price target from $ 287 to $ 293, welcomed this "awesome" quarter and felt that "this execution and this level of results dispel the concerns of investors regarding the transition of management ". Following acquisitions over the last 12 months, Palo Alto Networks has not only a new president, Amit Singh, a former Google executive, but also a new president and CEO, Nikesh Arora.
However, Auty has adopted a more wait-and-see attitude towards the Cortex and Traps 6.0 bundle.
"We watched Cisco
CSCO, + 0.80%
trying similar offers and not generating success, so it will take time for the results to show if this action is bearing fruit, "said Auty.
Srini Nandury, an analyst at Summit Insights Group, who maintained his credit rating but raised his price target to $ 225, said "we will be following very closely the evolution of Palo Alto's software."
"In the near term, the next two or three quarters, the company will likely exceed consensus estimates and probably guide modestly, because of the upgrade cycle within the installation base," Nandury said. "We will be evaluating our sustainment score after meeting with our industry contacts at the RSA conference to assess the prospects for new products."
The week-long RSA conference, one of the largest cybersecurity trade shows, kicked off Monday in downtown San Francisco.
Of the 40 analysts who cover Palo Alto Networks, 32 have a purchase or overweight rating, seven have a holding rating and one has a sale rating. After 19 analysts raised their price targets, the average goal for the stock was $ 271.70 compared to $ 247.11 before the earnings report, according to FactSet data.
For the year, Palo Alto shares rose by more than 35%, the S & P 500 by 11.4%, Nasdaq by 13.9% and ETFMG Prime Cyber Security by 19.3%.
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