NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Citrix Systems was the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 on Thursday. The S&P ticked up 0.71 points, or 0.05%, Thursday morning to 1,391.40.
Shares of Citrix rose 9.19% to $84.26. The stock was upgraded to outperform by FBR Securities analysts on Thursday with a $100 price target. "We believe the company is clearly firing on all cylinders and still appears to be in the early days of a massive product cycle around desktop virtualization," FBR Securities analysts wrote in the report Thursday. "While we have been sitting on the sidelines on Citrix due mainly to product/execution transitions going on in the field, as evidenced by last night's quarter/outlook, coupled with our recent checks around desktop virtualization adoption trends, we believe the 'light has changed from yellow to green' on the name; thus, we would be strong buyers of shares this morning. In terms of the quarter, Citrix delivered strong March results as the company handily beat the Street on both the top and bottom lines, coupled with a stronger-than-expected bookings performance, which we believe is a telling indicator of the company's growth prospects for the remainder of 2012." Citrix reported first-quarter earnings Wednesday of 59 cents a share, excluding items, up from year-earlier earnings of 50 cents. Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 51 cents a share. Revenue in the quarter grew 20% to $589 million. Citrix trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio of 26.58; the average for software companies is 30.35. For comparison, Salesforce.com ( CRM) has a higher forward P/E of 73.32. Twenty-two of the 35 analysts who cover Citrix Systems rated it buy. Twelve analysts gave the stock a hold rating and one rated it sell. TheStreet Ratings gives Citrix Systems a C grade and hold rating. The stock has risen 38.87% year to date.