Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Thursday.
According to Zacks, “Palo Alto posted strong results in for Q2 mainly driven by healthy demand environment, new product launches and increasing adoption of the company’s next-generation security platforms. Buoyed by robust Q2 performance, the company provided impressive guidance for the current quarter and also raised FY18 outlook. 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. The stock has outperformed the industry in a year’s time. Nonetheless, a volatile spending environment and competition from peers remain concerns.”
PANW has been the subject of several other reports. Deutsche Bank raised their target price on shares of Palo Alto Networks from $180.00 to $210.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 27th. Jefferies Group reissued a buy rating and issued a $183.00 target price (up from $168.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. Piper Jaffray Companies reissued an overweight rating and issued a $173.00 target price (up from $155.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. Royal Bank of Canada raised their target price on shares of Palo Alto Networks from $159.00 to $175.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. Finally, Evercore ISI raised shares of Palo Alto Networks from an in-line rating to an outperform rating and set a $180.00 target price for the company in a research note on Thursday, January 18th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and thirty-eight have issued a buy rating to the stock. Palo Alto Networks presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $181.38.
In related news, CEO Mark D. Mclaughlin sold 55,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $180.52, for a total value of $9,928,600.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 341,418 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $61,632,777.36. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Nir Zuk sold 30,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $181.65, for a total value of $5,449,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 1,384,919 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $251,570,536.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 419,603 shares of company stock valued at $65,527,618. 4.80% of the stock is owned by insiders.
A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 18.4% in the fourth quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 4,379,100 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $634,707,000 after purchasing an additional 681,200 shares in the last quarter. Sands Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 27.7% during the fourth quarter. Sands Capital Management LLC now owns 3,962,586 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $574,337,000 after acquiring an additional 860,117 shares in the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC raised its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 5.9% during the fourth quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 2,864,774 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $415,220,000 after acquiring an additional 158,878 shares in the last quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. raised its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 7.2% during the third quarter. Alyeska Investment Group L.P. now owns 1,387,411 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $199,926,000 after acquiring an additional 92,622 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 35.5% during the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,068,289 shares of the network technology company’s stock worth $153,798,000 after acquiring an additional 279,602 shares in the last quarter. 81.26% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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About Palo Alto Networks
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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