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Buy the Dip in Palo Alto Networks; Analysts Raise Targets

Palo Alto Networks stock forecast

Key Points

  • Palo Alto Networks stock price dipped on a surge in billings that have no bearing on company health or future growth.
  • Guidance was narrowed to a range bracketing the consensus; guidance expects 10% to 11% revenue growth in Q4. 
  • Analysts are raising their targets and leading this market to retest its all-time high. 
  • 5 stocks we like better than Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks' NASDAQ: PANW share price is down more than 5% following its FQ3 release, which provides an attractive buy-the-dip opportunity. The move is driven by an increase in billings that have no bearing on the underlying business. The increase in billings is due to customers choosing to pay for their services over time instead of upfront, a trend driven by inflation and interest rates more than anything else.

The report's takeaway is that the cybersecurity industry-leading Palo Alto Networks is still growing at a double-digit pace and forecasting robust growth. Its platformization plans resonated with clients and had no visible impact on the Q3 results. The results include robust growth, wider margins, and a significant improvement in shareholder equity that will help drive the share higher this year and over the long term. 

The takeaway from the analyst chatter is that the move lower was overblown. The company is expected to produce above-peer growth aided by the latest deal with IBM. IBM and Palo Alto Networks have partnered to provide AI-powered security services across their networks, which should drive growth for both businesses. The analysts' response to the release is mixed. There are several price target reductions, but the reductions are to levels above consensus, and the bulk of revisions are upward. The bottom line is that consensus is rising and supports the stock price, and the high end of the analysts’ range puts the stock at a new all-time high. 

Palo Alto Has a Solid Quarter, Guides in Alignment with Forecasts

Palo Alto Networks Today

Palo Alto Networks, Inc. stock logo
PANWPANW 90-day performance
Palo Alto Networks
-2.35 (-0.74%)
(As of 06/14/2024 ET)
52-Week Range
P/E Ratio
Price Target

Palo Alto Network had a solid quarter, with growth in its core segments contributing to top-line strength. The company reported $1.98 billion in net revenue for a gain of 15.1%. Product revenue grew by 0.7%, while the larger Subscription and Services segment grew by 19.5%. Subscriptions and Services are 80% of the net. The top-line outpaced the consensus estimates by $0.10 billion or 500 basis points and suggests another quarter of strength will come in Q4. 

Margin is another area of strength. The company widened the margin at the gross and operating levels to drive significant improvements in GAAP and adjusted results. The GAAP operating and net income more than doubled compared to last year, while the adjusted operating margin widened by 200 basis points to 26%, ahead of forecasts. The adjusted $1.32 is up 20% to outpace the topline advance by 500 basis points, and margin strength is expected to continue. 

The guidance is why the market contracted following the release. The guidance aligns with the consensus outlook and was narrowed, curbing the potential for outperformance. Regardless, the company expected a 9% to 10% increase in billings and revenue to grow by 10% to 11%, and forecasts have top and bottom-line growth accelerating next year. 

Palo Alto Networks Builds Value for Investors

Palo Alto Networks doesn’t pay dividends or repurchase shares but doesn’t have to deliver value for shareholders. The share count is increasing and aids a rapid market cap expansion. The company's market capitalization, or the total value of its stock, doubled over the last year, and equity is also rising. The company’s balance sheet is rock solid, with cash rising, no significant debt and equity up more than double. 

Palo Alto Network’s stock price is down in early trading but shows clear support at a key level. Support is evident at the 30-day moving average and aligns with other buy signals that were previously fired. Assuming the market follows through on the signal today, this stock could rise to retest the recent highs soon. A move to a new high would be bullish and open the door to a sustained rally that could reach an all-time high by the end of the year. 

PANW stock chart

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Thomas Hughes
About The Author

Thomas Hughes

Contributing Author

Technical and Fundamental Analysis

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Companies Mentioned in This Article

CompanyMarketRank™Current PricePrice ChangeDividend YieldP/E RatioConsensus RatingConsensus Price Target
Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
4.4199 of 5 stars
$317.31-0.7%N/A46.12Moderate Buy$322.78
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