Palo Alto Networks Inc (PANW) New Product Development a Key to Continued Growth: Oppenheimer

Sales reorganization initiatives and improved execution levels are encouraging, says analyst.

Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) shares popped up by nearly 14% after releasing solid fiscal fourth quarter results, which beat out consensus on a wide range of estimates. Over the past quarter, the cybersecurity mogul announced ground-breaking technical solutions, saw heightened sales on new products, which helped to drive revenue, operating margins, EPS, billings, and CFFO. The company also received word that its CFO Steffan Tomlinson will be retiring.

Top analyst Shaul Eyal of Oppenheimer, weighed in on PANW’s earnings in a bullish note, noting that “the strong results were driven by improved productivity and continued progress with PANW’s sales-force reorganization initiatives as well as strong sales of its new appliances (PA-5200, PA-800, PA-220), which debuted in F3Q,” and believes “its improved execution levels would continue into FY18.”

Looking at the fourth quarter numbers, EPS of $0.92 surpassed consensus estimates of $0.79, while revenue of $509.1 million, well exceed the Street estimates of $487.5 million. In addition, the operating margin hit 23.7% vs. consensus of 21.6% and CFFO also saw a healthy beat of $239.5 million, compared to expectations of $193.2 million. Moreover, the company saw consistent year over year growth across the board, 27% in APAC and the Americas and 28% in EMEA with Wildfire customer swelling from 2,000 to 19,000 representing 12% growth quarter over quarter.

Looking forward, the analyst opines that “recently announced new product developments including Application Framework, PA-series, VMseries, and GlobalProtect,” adding that these developments will lead to continued “strong cadence in productivity levels and new product traction positively as FY18 unfolds.”

Eyal is confident that “PANW’s strong quarter and new product traction set a positive tone as FY18 unfolds.” As such, the analyst is reiterating an Outperform on PANW with a $173 price target representing a near 18% rise over from where the shares last closed.

Shaul Eyal has a good TipRanks score with a 64% success rate and a high ranking of #121 out of 4,642 analysts. Eyal yields 11.6% in his annual returns. When recommending PANW, the analyst garners 14.9% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics exhibits PANW as a Strong Buy. Out of 21 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 16 are bullish, while 5 are sidelined on Palo Alto stock. With a potential upside of 10%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $161.90.

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