Shares of Palo Alto Networks (PANW) - Get Report got hammered in the after-hour session Thursday, plunging almost 11% to around $132 per share, down from the regular session close at $148.18. This is even though cybersecurity specialist beat Wall Street's third-quarter revenue estimates, while reporting inline earnings, thanks to record billings.
And if you're looking for a potential 10% rebound on this overreaction to what was a solid earnings report, now's the time to buy PANW stock. Just as quickly at these shares declined on Palo Alto's fourth-quarter revenue guidance, there's enough of a push here to send the stock soaring back higher.
Investors got spooked on Palo Alto's implied slowing growth. The company forecasted fourth-quarter earnings per share to be between 48 cents and 50 cents, while revenue is expected to be between $386 million and $390 million. But here's the thing: Both measures imply growth of 71% and 36%, respectively. And that's assuming Palo Alto achieves its low-end ranges.
This means fundamentally that Palo Alto's business, which grew revenue 47% in the just-ended quarter, remains intact. This was evidenced by the 38% growth in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments on the books. And from a technical perspective, PANW now looks even more attractive and is poised to recover from the decline to deliver gains of 10% to 15%. Take a look at the chart below, courtesy of TradingView.
Through Thursday's regular session close of $148.18, PANW shares are down almost 16% so far on the year, compared with a 2.26% rise in the S&P 500I:GSPC index. Tacking on the 11% decline to around $132, the shares are now down almost 30% on the year. But the stock has a consensus buy rating and an average analyst 12-month price target of $195.79, suggesting gains of almost 50%.
From the chart, you can see the manner in which PANW plunged from around $148 per share to about $132, creating a 11% gap. As it stands, the stock is now trading below all three key support levels, including its 20-day moving average of $140.94 (wavy blue line), the 50-day (pink line -- $147.04) and 100-day (yellow line -- $146.04). Ordinarily, these would be bearish signs. In this case, it's an opportunity to buy a market leader at a much cheaper valuation.
The chart says PANW has short-term support around $129.53 (bottom straight blue arrow), with short-term resistance now at $139 (top straight blue arrow). The stock would only need to move 5.5% higher to fill 50% of the gap. And you can get a sense, from the black arrows, the volatility the stock is accustomed to. The bet is that the stock, as it has done the past three months, will reverse course in a few weeks and regain the 50-day at $147, delivering a 11% gain.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.