Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report issued on Monday. The brokerage currently has a $181.00 price target on the network technology company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 18.79% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Palo Alto Networks offers network security solutions to enterprises, service providers and government entities worldwide. Of late, estimates have remained stable for the company. We remain encouraged by Palo Alto Network’s healthy demand environment, new product launches and increasing adoption of its next-generation security platforms. 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 acquisitions synergies will also 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. Nonetheless, a volatile spending environment and competition from peers remain concerns.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently weighed in on the company. Morgan Stanley upgraded Palo Alto Networks from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their target price for the company from $150.00 to $185.00 in a report on Tuesday, October 10th. William Blair upgraded Palo Alto Networks from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday, December 4th. BidaskClub upgraded Palo Alto Networks from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. Evercore ISI set a $145.00 price objective on Palo Alto Networks and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, November 16th. Finally, FBN Securities upgraded Palo Alto Networks from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 21st. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, thirty-two have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $166.11.

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) opened at $152.38 on Monday. The firm has a market capitalization of $14,450.00, a PE ratio of -61.94 and a beta of 0.99. Palo Alto Networks has a twelve month low of $107.31 and a twelve month high of $158.78.

Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) last issued its earnings results on Monday, November 20th. The network technology company reported $0.74 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.68 by $0.06. The company had revenue of $505.50 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $489.36 million. Palo Alto Networks had a negative return on equity of 15.77% and a negative net margin of 11.97%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 27.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.55 EPS. equities research analysts expect that Palo Alto Networks will post -0.37 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, insider Nir Zuk sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $144.69, for a total value of $289,380.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, President Mark Anderson sold 15,614 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $144.16, for a total value of $2,250,914.24. Following the completion of the sale, the president now directly owns 186,413 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $26,873,298.08. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 354,644 shares of company stock worth $52,415,318. Corporate insiders own 4.80% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of PANW. Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 14.9% in the second quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 6,000 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $803,000 after acquiring an additional 780 shares during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 1.2% in the second quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 5,590 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $748,000 after acquiring an additional 68 shares during the period. Riverhead Capital Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 90.9% in the second quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 2,100 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $281,000 after acquiring an additional 1,000 shares during the period. Amalgamated Bank boosted its position in shares of Palo Alto Networks by 75.4% in the second quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 9,122 shares of the network technology company’s stock valued at $1,221,000 after acquiring an additional 3,922 shares during the period. Finally, Profund Advisors LLC bought a new position in Palo Alto Networks in the second quarter worth $246,000. 79.90% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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Palo Alto Networks Company Profile

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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