Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Palo Alto Networks, Inc. (NYSE:PANW) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Palo Alto allows firms, service providers and government bodies to impose tighter security measures through its network security platform. Estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company’s Q1 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. The decelerating revenue growth trend makes us slightly cautious about Palo Alto's near-term performance. Notably, the company has witnessed over 50% growth in quarterly revenues for nearly two years except in the past four quarters. Moreover, Palo Alto’s revenue growth guidance range of 21% to 24% for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 has increased our concerns. Furthermore, although the company’s billings growth rate of 17% during 4Q17 was higher than Q3 growth rate of 12%, it is still lower than Q1 and Q2 growth rates of 33% and 22%, respectively. The stock has underperformed the industry in the year-to-date period.”

A number of other research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. BidaskClub cut shares of Palo Alto Networks from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Wednesday, October 25th. Northland Securities set a $175.00 target price on shares of Palo Alto Networks and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, October 18th. Morgan Stanley raised shares of Palo Alto Networks from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and increased their target price for the company from $150.00 to $185.00 in a report on Tuesday, October 10th. Stephens reaffirmed an overweight rating and issued a $165.00 target price (up from $155.00) on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a report on Tuesday, October 3rd. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $173.00 target price on shares of Palo Alto Networks in a report on Thursday, September 28th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and thirty have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $160.33.

Shares of Palo Alto Networks (PANW) traded up $0.49 during trading hours on Monday, reaching $138.70. 1,429,100 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,734,458. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69, a current ratio of 1.65 and a quick ratio of 1.65. Palo Alto Networks has a 1 year low of $107.31 and a 1 year high of $165.69.

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 31st. The network technology company reported ($0.13) EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.79 by ($0.92). The firm had revenue of $509.00 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $487.53 million. Palo Alto Networks had a negative net margin of 12.57% and a negative return on equity of 19.72%. Palo Alto Networks’s revenue for the quarter was up 27.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.50 EPS. sell-side analysts anticipate that Palo Alto Networks will post -0.5 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, insider Nir Zuk sold 146,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $149.86, for a total transaction of $21,879,560.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Carl M. Eschenbach sold 1,572 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $144.99, for a total transaction of $227,924.28. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 3,619 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $524,718.81. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 284,744 shares of company stock valued at $42,239,296. Company insiders own 4.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. IFM Investors Pty Ltd acquired a new stake in Palo Alto Networks during the third quarter valued at approximately $366,000. Green Square Capital LLC lifted its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 30.4% during the third quarter. Green Square Capital LLC now owns 4,027 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $580,000 after purchasing an additional 939 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 1.6% during the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 165,400 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $23,834,000 after purchasing an additional 2,600 shares during the last quarter. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC lifted its stake in Palo Alto Networks by 85.5% during the third quarter. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC now owns 8,922 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $1,286,000 after purchasing an additional 4,112 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Highbridge Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in Palo Alto Networks during the third quarter valued at approximately $18,730,000. 77.50% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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