Piper Jaffray boosted its price target on Palo Alto Networks (PANW) before the opening bell on Monday. Here’s what the move means for mutual fund investors.
Inside the Analyst Move
Piper Jaffray analyst Andrew Nowinski raised his price target on Palo Alto Networks from $130 to $150. This new price target suggests a 19% upside from the stock’s current price. The analyst also maintained an “Overweight” on the company.
According to the analyst: “Palo Alto is our top pick for 2015. While shares are up 116% YTD (vs. +12% S&P500), we believe momentum can continue in 2015, driven in part by a shift in security spending toward vendors with comprehensive portfolios. Additionally, we believe the company’s highly differentiated products will enable win rates to remain above 85%, with ramping contributions from Wildfire and Traps. We believe the current valuation underappreciates the sustainability of these advantages and therefore raise our price target to $150 (prev $130) as we roll out to CY16 estimates.”
Hot Stock in Network Security Platform Industry
After the company’s July 2012 IPO, the stock has more than doubled as the network security platform industry has been on a bull run as companies continue to boost security. This industry has been gaining even more attention with the recent news regarding Sony’s (SNE) security issues over the last few weeks.
Regardless of the stock’s run up, investors should realize that its shares are quite pricey, trading at three-times the company’s price-to-earnings growth (PEG). A reasonable PEG would be around 2:1. We understand stocks in their early growth phase can sometimes surpass the most optimistic forecasts, but investors should be aware of a company’s current valuation whenever deploying capital.
Mutual Funds to Watch
The mutual funds below may be a good option for investors seeking exposure to PANW. The three funds listed currently hold the largest stakes in the company.
|VTSMX||Vanguard Total Stock Mkt Idx||1.34%|
|NAESX||Vanguard Small Cap||1.28%|
The Bottom Line
The funds above allow investors to gain exposure to PANW while remaining diversified. Investors interested in PANW may also be interested in Fortinet (FTNT), FireEye (FEYE) and Cisco (CSCO).
Shares of PANW are up 120% YTD.