Is the GOP presidential nominee "The Trumpchurian Candidate?" Evidence has mounted that Russia's Vladimir Putin is trying to assist former reality television star Donald Trump, to gain a more pliable ally in the White House.
Reminiscent of the 1962 Cold War thriller The Manchurian Candidate, the Democrats argue that Trump is tantamount to the Russian leader's mole. At the center of the debate are thousands of emails from Democratic Party servers that intelligence agencies have tied to hackers based in Russia.
This intensifying cyberwar won't go away after the Nov. 8 election, no matter who wins. That's why cybersecurity stocks are among the most compelling long-term growth opportunities that you can find.
The mega-cap plays on cybersecurity are good (and obvious) long-term investment bets, but their sheer size makes it difficult for them to achieve robust, multiyear earnings growth.
Below, are three mid-cap stocks, Symantec (SYMC) , Qualys (QLYS) and Juniper Networks (JNPR) that tap into the unstoppable trend of cybersecurity. They're large enough to withstand marker gyrations but small enough to realize exponential gains as demand grows.
With a market cap of $15.72 billion, Symantec is on the higher range of the "mid-cap" definition but considerably smaller than its chief rival, cybersecurity behemoth Cisco (market cap: $153.59 billion).
Symantec operates through two segments, Consumer Security and Enterprise Security. The Consumer Security segment offers Norton-branded services for homes, individuals and businesses. The Enterprise Security segment provides pubic and private sector clients with solutions through software, appliance, software-as-a-service and managed services.
The company's products enjoy brand-name recognition and a loyal client roster that's entrenched and diversified. Symantec stock has gained 21.5% year to date, compared with 2.6% for the S&P 500. Earnings growth should push the stock higher.
Symantec is set to report second-quarter fiscal 2017 results on Nov. 3. Earnings per share are expected to come in at 20 cents, compared to 29 cents in the same quarter a year ago. The slow-down in PC sales is a major factor weighing on Symantec's operating results, but earnings momentum is possible as other devices continue to require beefed-up security.
The average analyst estimate for Symantec's full-year 2016 EPS is $1.12, compared to $1.03 last year. Analysts expect the company to post a five-year earnings growth rate of 12.18%, compared to 0.14% for its peers. Shares trade at a trailing 12-month price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) of 6.58, compared with about 20 for its industry.
With a market cap of $1.29 billion, Qualys has plenty of room for upside. The stock has gained 12.69% year to date, handily beating the tech sector and the broader market.
Qualys provides cloud-based security in the U.S. and overseas. Qualys' sustained commitment to cloud technology has been a key differentiator for the company. The company is scheduled to release earnings on Nov. 3. The average analyst expectation is for EPS of 19 cents, in line with last year. The average analyst estimate for full-year 2016 earnings per share (EPS) is 79 cents, compared to 70 cents last year.
Analysts expect the company to post a five-year earnings growth rate of 15%. Shares trade at a trailing P/E of 76.69, which is high. The stock is poised to beat the market, but you may want to wait for pullbacks before buying.
3. Juniper Networks
Sporting a market cap of $9.84 billion, Juniper provides internet infrastructure solutions for service providers and other telecommunications companies. The company offers router and switching products, as well as integrated firewall capabilities. One of the company's strengths has been its aggressive R&D into "next-generation" internet development.
The company on Oct. 26 reported third-quarter EPS of 47 cents, which beat the consensus estimate by 6 cents. Juniper stock has lost 6.88% year to date, but it has jumped about 5% since its earnings surprise.
The average analyst estimate for full-year 2016 EPS is $2.06, compared to $2.03 last year. Analysts expect the company to post a five-year earnings growth rate of 13%. Shares trade at a trailing P/E of 16.25.
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