Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE:PANW) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Palo Alto Networks allows firms, service providers and government bodies to impose tighter security measures through its network security platform. The company reported wider-than-expected loss in the first quarter. Revenues also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company also provided a tepid forthcoming revenue guidance. Also, for the past few quarters, Palo Alto has been witnessing increase in operating expenses due to stepped-up investments in research and development, and marketing strategies which have been offsetting the benefit of higher revenues. Going forward, a volatile spending environment and competition from Cisco Systems, Inc. and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. remain concerns.”

A number of other brokerages have also weighed in on PANW. Barclays PLC dropped their price objective on shares of Palo Alto Networks from $200.00 to $175.00 and set an “overweight” rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, November 22nd. RBC Capital Markets reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $175.00 price objective (down from $185.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a report on Wednesday, August 31st. Argus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $205.00 price objective on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a report on Saturday, September 3rd. Piper Jaffray Cos. reissued an “overweight” rating and set a $170.00 price objective (up from $167.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a report on Wednesday, August 31st. Finally, DA Davidson set a $186.00 price objective on shares of Palo Alto Networks and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 22nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, thirty-four have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Palo Alto Networks presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $180.45.

Analyst Recommendations for Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW)

Shares of Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) opened at 141.51 on Thursday. Palo Alto Networks has a 52 week low of $111.09 and a 52 week high of $194.73. The stock’s market cap is $12.71 billion. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $152.25 and a 200-day moving average price of $140.32.

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) last released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, November 21st. The network technology company reported $0.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.52 by $0.03. Palo Alto Networks had a negative net margin of 16.83% and a negative return on equity of 35.75%. The business had revenue of $398.10 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $400.20 million. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.35 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 34.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Palo Alto Networks will post $2.78 earnings per share for the current year.

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In related news, Director Daniel J. Warmenhoven sold 1,950 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $159.61, for a total value of $311,239.50. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 530 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $84,593.30. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Nir Zuk sold 103,152 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, October 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $159.36, for a total transaction of $16,438,302.72. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 4.80% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Jennison Associates LLC increased its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 32.3% in the second quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 4,768,553 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $584,815,000 after buying an additional 1,163,146 shares during the last quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD increased its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 30.4% in the third quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 4,871,628 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $776,196,000 after buying an additional 1,137,120 shares during the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. increased its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 122.1% in the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 2,037,537 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $249,884,000 after buying an additional 1,120,097 shares during the last quarter. Criterion Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 374.5% in the second quarter. Criterion Capital Management LLC now owns 610,330 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $74,851,000 after buying an additional 481,710 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 6.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,066,172 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $743,954,000 after buying an additional 353,873 shares during the last quarter. 87.20% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks, Inc is a security company. The Company’s security platform consists of three elements: its Next-Generation Firewall, its Advanced Endpoint Protection, and its Threat Intelligence Cloud. The Company’s 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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:PANW

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