have nearly recovered a month of losses in the past week as investors are returning to a stock that had been dogged by questions regarding stock options practices.
RSA gained more than 8% last week to close Friday at $18.17 -- the first time since May 16 that RSA has topped $18 after trading in the $14 to $17 range. The stock has recently slipped back under $17.50.
The prior selloff, sparked late last month by an inquiry from the
Securities and Exchange Commission
on its stock options practices, as well as a
subpoena, forced the inevitable analyst downgrades.
Writing about the recent subpoena, Clyde Montevirgen, an equity analyst with Standard & Poor's, wrote Thursday that "we believe potential repercussions include additional legal and accounting expenses, financial restatements and other penalties
for RSA Security. Our 12-month target price falls to $15 from $20, based on lower P/E and enterprise value-to-sales multiples, which are now in line with peers'." Standard & Poor's does not do investment banking.
But some analysts are suggesting that investors have digested the options risk and see a chance to get into a fundamentally solid company that could deliver some upside in its next earnings report.
"I think a lot of investors view RSA as kind of a safe haven, given what happened in the first quarter," says Daniel Ives, an analyst with Friedman Billings Ramsey. "It was one of the few security software companies to post a solid March quarter."
Indeed, RSA surpassed the Street's consensus estimates for the March quarter and
offered bullish guidance for the current quarter.
"Even though the options issue continues to be an overhang for RSA, I think a lot of investors have tried to look through that and focused on the fundamentals," Ives says.
Ives rates the company market perform. His firm acts as a market maker for the company's securities. FBRC seeks to do banking business with the companies it covers.
Robert Breza, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets who says he was "a little surprised" at the depth of RSA's recent selloff , also likes the strategic direction the company is taking in the consumer authentication space with its acquisitions of Cyota and PassMark.
"I think, from a top-line growth perspective, people see the opportunity," he said. "If you look out a couple quarters from now, you can see the operating margin leverage start to kick in."
Also, after a long search, the company finally hired a
new chief financial officer, Charles Kane, formerly the finance chief at
"They finally have their management hole filled, so that's a positive," Breza says. "People who have worked with
Kane in the past say pretty good things about him." RBC seeks to do investment-banking business with the companies it covers.