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Watch Out: Barbarians At The Gate For Palo Alto Networks (PANW)

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Trade-Ideas LLC identified Palo Alto Networks ( PANW) as a "barbarian at the gate" (strong stocks crossing above resistance with today's range greater than 200%) candidate. In addition to specific proprietary factors, Trade-Ideas identified Palo Alto Networks as such a stock due to the following factors:

  • PANW has an average dollar-volume (as measured by average daily share volume multiplied by share price) of $175.5 million.
  • PANW has traded 4.0 million shares today.
  • PANW traded in a range 243.7% of the normal price range with a price range of $7.38.
  • PANW traded above its daily resistance level (quality: 8 days, meaning that the stock is crossing a resistance level set by the last 8 calendar days. The resistance price is defined by the Price - $0.01 at the time of the signal).

Stocks matching the 'Barbarian at the Gate' criteria are worthwhile stocks to watch for a variety of factors including historical back testing and volatility. Trade-Ideas targets these opportunities because the stock is exhibiting an unusual behavior while displaying positive price action. In this case, the stock crossed an important inflection point; namely, 'resistance' while at the same time the range of the stock's movement in price is more than twice its normal size. This large range foreshadows a possible continuation as the stock moves higher.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Get the inside scoop on opportunities in PANW with the Ticky from Trade-Ideas. See the FREE profile for PANW NOW at Trade-Ideas

More details on PANW:

Palo Alto Networks, Inc. offers a network security platform in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific, and Japan. The company's platform comprises Next-Generation Firewall that delivers application, user, and content visibility and control. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Palo Alto Networks a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Palo Alto Networks has been 1.5 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Palo Alto has a market cap of $5.1 billion and is part of the technology sector and computer hardware industry. Shares are up 20.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreetRatings.com Analysis:

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Palo Alto Networks as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 46.2%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • PANW has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. To add to this, PANW has a quick ratio of 2.00, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • PANW's share price has surged by 25.15% over the past year, reflecting the market's general trend, despite their weak earnings growth during the last quarter. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Communications Equipment industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 1428.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$2.61 million to -$39.95 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Communications Equipment industry and the overall market, PALO ALTO NETWORKS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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