Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: PANW) stock fell -2.23% on Friday to $171.12 against a previous-day closing price of $175.02. With 2.96 million shares changed hands, the volume of the stock remained lighter than its average volume of 4.29 million shares. During the session, the Software – Infrastructure company that operates in wider Technology sector, reached to the highest price of $177.43 whereas the lowest price it dropped to was $171.11. The 52-week range on PANW shows that it touched its highest point at $213.63 and its lowest point at $140.52 during that stretch. It currently has a 1-year price target of $217.42. Beta for the stock currently stands at 1.13.
Price Performance and Earnings:
Stock performance is one of the indicators that investors use to determine whether they will profit from a stock. The price performance of PANW was down-trending over the past week, with a drop of -6.01%, but this was up by 1.05% over a month. Three-month performance surged to 3.85% while six-month performance fell -14.07%. The stock gained 8.53% in the past year, while it has lost -7.80% so far this year. A look at the trailing 12-month EPS for PANW yields -8.16 with Next year EPS estimates of 3.80. For the next quarter, that number is 0.69. This implies an EPS growth rate of 47.60% for this year and 20.17% for next year. EPS is expected to grow by 25.98% annually over the next five years; however, over the past five years, the company experienced an annual growth rate of -3.90%.
Float and Shares Shorts:
At present, 299.21 million PANW shares are outstanding with a float of 293.79 million shares on hand for trading. On Jul 14, 2022, short shares totaled 7.26 million, which was 7.29% higher than short shares on Jun 14, 2022. In addition to Mr. Nikesh Arora C.F.A. as the firm’s Chairman & CEO, Mr. Nir Zuk serves as its Founder, Exec. VP, CTO & Director.
Through their ownership of 89.18% of PANW’s outstanding shares, institutional investors have majority control over the company. Other institutions hold 44.98% of PANW, in contrast to 44.32% held by mutual funds. Shares owned by individuals account for 15.67%. As the largest shareholder in PANW with 7.50% of the stake, The Vanguard Group, Inc. holds 7,470,236 shares worth 7,470,236. A second-largest stockholder of PANW, BlackRock Fund Advisors, holds 3,514,925 shares, controlling over 3.53% of the firm’s shares. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC is the third largest shareholder in PANW, holding 2,536,615 shares or 2.55% stake. With a 2.96% stake in PANW, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index is the largest stakeholder. A total of 2,950,242 shares are owned by the mutual fund manager. The Invesco QQQ Trust, which owns about 1.44% of PANW stock, is the second-largest Mutual Fund holder. It holds 1,434,842 shares valued at 798.93 million. Vanguard Extended Market Index Fu holds 1.34% of the stake in PANW, owning 1,336,681 shares worth 744.28 million.
Reading analyst opinions is an effective way to decide where to invest, and there are several opinions available for PANW since 36 analysts follow the stock currently. There are 29 analysts who recommend BUY ratings, while 0 suggest SELL ratings. Of the remaining analysts, 5 believe that the stock is worth HOLDING, 2 give it an OVERWEIGHT rating, and 0 thinks that it’s UNDERWEIGHT. In the same way, a target price assigned to a stock can also reveal much about its potential. With PANW analysts setting a high price target of $274.00 and a low target of $165.00, the average target price over the next 12 months is $219.27. Based on these targets, PANW could surge 60.12% to reach the target high and fall by -3.58% to reach the target low. Reaching the average price target will result in a growth of 28.14% from current levels.
EPS: Estimates vs Actual
It is also common to use earnings estimates to evaluate a firm’s growth potential and to determine trading strategy. PANW will report FY 2023 earnings on 08/30/2023. Analysts have provided yearly estimates in a range of $3.70 being high and $2.87 being low. For PANW, this leads to a yearly average estimate of $3.16. The earnings surprise of a firm occurs when the actual results change from the consensus earnings estimate. Palo Alto Networks Inc. surprised analysts by $0.04 when it reported $0.80 EPS against a consensus estimate of $0.76. The surprise factor in the prior quarter was $0.04. Based on analyst estimates, the high estimate for the next quarter is $0.84 and the low estimate is $0.62. The average estimate for the next quarter is thus $0.69.
Summary of Insider Activity:
Insiders traded PANW stock several times over the past three months with 1 Buys and 35 Sells. In these transactions, 1,908 shares were bought while 56,961 shares were sold. The number of buy transactions has increased to 17 while that of sell transactions has risen to 278 over the past year. The total number of shares bought during that period was 180,283 while 356,043 shares were sold.