Why Gigamon, Inc. Shares Soared

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Gigamon, (NYSE: GIMO  ) jumped more than 10% during Friday's intraday trading after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock, and speculated that the network traffic visibility specialist could be a takeover target.

So what: Anticipating an earnings beat and raise when Gigamon announces next Tuesday, Goldman analyst Ken Schofield upgraded shares to buy from neutral, and assigned a $38 price target. Even after the pop, that still represents a healthy premium of nearly 25% from today's close.

Schofield explained his rationale by pointing to improving U.S. enterprise spending as demonstrated in the results of Gigamon's peers. To be sure, consider F5 Networks, shares of which spiked last week after it beat expectations and issued solid forward guidance. In addition, Schofield suggested Gigamon's strong margins and fast revenue growth could make it an attractive acquisition target.

Now what: Keep in mind that Gigamon stock plunged three months ago, when it beat expectations, but followed with weaker-than-expected forward guidance. And even now, the stock doesn't look particularly cheap trading around 28 times next year's estimated earnings.

Going into next week's report, analysts will be looking for adjusted earnings of $0.12 per share on sales of $41.9 million. Both figures are at the high end of Gigamon's own guidance, which calls for earnings of $0.10 to $0.12 per share on sales of $40.5 million to $42.5 million.

We'll see whether Goldman Sachs is correct, but if Gigamon can manage to beat its own expectations and raise forward guidance, investors could be happy they held on.

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