Preventing cybercriminals and hackers from stealing sensitive data remains a top priority for business executives. And enterprise security company FireEye (FEYE) - Get Report seemingly knows how to capitalize on the growing business of staying ahead of cyberthreats, based on its five straight quarters of beating Wall Street's earnings estimates.
FireEye reports third-quarter fiscal 2015 earnings results after the closing bell Wednesday. And with FEYE stock down some 15% on the year, investors would do well to consider buying this smaller competitor to market leadersCisco Systems (CSCO) - Get Report and Check Point Software (CHKP) - Get Report before its shares rebound.
Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in October named FireEye to their Cybersecurity top picks list, while reiterating their buy rating on the stock. FireEye’s addressable markets could potentially triple in size to $1.5 billion in the next four years, noted the analysts. Merrill Lynch has a $50 price target on FEYE stock, some 85% above its current level of around $27.
And here's the thing: As bullish as that price target appears, it's still $1 lower than analysts' average 12-month target of $51. The reason for all this optimism? FireEye, headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, already does business with some 98% of the Fortune 500, indicating it has a secure foothold in the thriving cybersecurity market.
What's more, cybersecurity is still an under-penetrated market, according to research firm IDC. Only 33% of corporations have systems in place that are able to detect when a breach has occurred, the firm reports. This explains why the market for preventing and resolving advanced online threats is projected to skyrocket in the next five years -- and FireEye is one of the businesses best positioned to profit from that growth. Its earnings report Wednesday should offer a glimpse into the next several quarters and beyond.
For the quarter that ended in September, analysts' average earnings estimate calls for loss of 45 cents a share on revenue of $167 million, compared to the year-ago quarter, when FireEye posted a loss of 51 cents a share on revenue of $114 million. For the full year ending in December, the loss is expected to narrow to $1.79 a share, compared to a loss of $1.97 in 2014. Full-year revenue, meanwhile, is expected to surge 50% to $640 million.
With revenue already growing at 50% annually, the growing addressable market for its services makes FireEye even more attractive as an investment today.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.