NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Cyber threats are on the rise and hackers have become more sophisticated today than they've ever been thanks to all the mobile devices and other products tied to the Internet-of-Things. Securing these devices is great for the security business.
Ordinarily, this would bode well for security and enterprise services specialists like Symantec (SYMC), whose Norton antivirus and anti-hacking software remains popular among both business and consumers desktops computers. But the company's fourth-quarter results released Thursday suggests investors should look elsewhere for better stock gains.
SYMC currently is down nearly 4% to $25 and is off 2.7% for the year to date. But over the past 52 weeks the stock is up 12%, making this a perfect opportunity to lock in profits.
While SYMC looks cheap at 19 times earnings compared to a P/E of 21 for the S&P 500, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company is struggling to compete effectively against competitors including FireEye (FEYE) and Palo Alto Networks (PANW).
Fourth-quarter revenue dropped 6% year over year to $1.55 billion, missing analysts' revenue estimates of $1.56 billion and marking the third consecutive quarter of revenue declines. In the third quarter, revenue fell 4%, following a 1.2% revenue decline in the second quarter -- both missing estimates.
Sure, the company has been profitable. The fourth-quarter profit of 43 cents per share continues the streak to 10 straight profitable quarters. Symantec still missed fourth-quarter adjusted earnings-per-share estimates by a penny. Plus, it translates to a year-over-year profit decline of more than 10%, owing -- in part -- to a 10% decline in operating margin, which fell to 18.8%.