In yesterday’s session, investors flooded out of risk assets amid concerns about escalating Russia – Ukraine tension, erasing gains for the week. The major averages are on track for their second losing week in a row. At the start of today’s session, the Dow had suffered a weekly loss of 1.2%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq had lost 0.9% and 0.5% for the week, respectively.
“A further escalation of tensions in the near term could roil markets due to the potential impact on a tenuous global supply chain, particularly as the Fed prepares for its first rate hike in years,” said Peter Essele, head of portfolio management at Commonwealth Financial Network. “A perfect storm may be on the horizon if calmer heads don’t prevail.”
As global governments bolster security, the company featured in today’s trade alert seems likely to benefit.
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Palo Alto Network Inc. (PANW) has been helping customers stay ahead of quickly evolving cybersecurity threats for more than a decade. For nine years straight, the company has been named a market leader in network firewalls by leading research and advisory company, Gartner. In fact, it achieved the highest position for ability to execute and the furthest position for completeness of vision in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Network Firewalls for 2020. Still, they haven’t been letting the recognition go to their head. Over the past few years, Palo Alto has been aggressively expanding its portfolio with significant investments and acquisitions.
Most recently, their groundbreaking acquisition of Bridgecrew, a developer-first cloud security company, enabled Palo Alto’s Prisma Cloud to become the first cloud security platform to deliver security across the entire lifecycle of an application, from the building stage to deployment to run. This is the most recent in a string of additions to its portfolio of NGS (next-generation security) services.
In fiscal 2021, Palo Alto’s NGS services generated $1.18 billion in annual recurring revenue (ARR), representing roughly 28% of its top line and surpassing its prior ARR guidance of $1.15 billion. That segment’s accelerating growth complemented the stable development of its on-site appliances and services, and its total revenue increased 25% for the full year.
Palo Alto serves more than 85,000 customers today, compared to about 9,000 customers nine years ago. It expects its revenue to rise 24%-25% in fiscal 2022, and its stock trades at about nine times that forecast. The 33 analysts offering a 12-month price forecast have a median target of $612.50, representing a 23% increase from the last price. The consensus among 38 analysts providing recommendations for the stock is to Buy PANW. There are currently 32 Buy ratings, 4 Hold ratings, and 1 Sell rating.
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