Security stalwart Symantec, whose turnaround has gone largely noticed by investors, exciting? Might be hard to believe, but with a stock price that's currently trading below $20, analysts say it presents a good buying opportunity.
"It's still fantastically inexpensive," says Brad Zelnick of Macquarie Securities, who has a $23 price target on the shares. "Quite frankly, it's unloved, and that's what makes it exciting."After a tough few years, Symantec is now emerging from a period marred by lackluster execution, exemplified by its struggles to ingest acquisitions such as Veritas. Strong quarterly results last week, however, point to better times ahead for the Mountain View, Calif.-based outfit. The company's security and compliance business was particularly robust during the quarter, with revenue growing 24% year over year. Revenue from storage and server management, previously an area of weakness, was also up, rising 8% compared to the same period last year. "Symantec delivered good fiscal fourth-quarter results overall, marking its third consecutive quarter of improved execution and growth," said Todd Weller, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, in a recent note. "We view the quarter as another positive step by Symantec in increasing the market's confidence in its ability to more consistently execute and drive improved growth." "At the end of the day, it comes down to tech leadership, brand and market share," added Macquarie Securities' Zelnick. "[Symantec has] got a lot of the ingredients, they just had a tough time of pulling it together -- now it's finally happening for them." More specifically Symantec has cited top line growth around enterprise backup, hosted services and its DLP (Data Loss Prevention) products. Symantec is also aggressively targeting cloud security, something which will prove key as more companies send their critical data off into the cloud. On that front, the software maker is already working with Salesforce.com (CRM) to provide its customers with additional cloud security.
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