While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.
What: Shares of Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) rallied 3% today after Goldman Sachs assumed coverage on the network security technologist with a Conviction Buy rating.
So what: Along with the bullish call, analyst Matthew Niknam planted a price target of $97 on the stock, representing about 28% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while contrarian traders might be turned off by Palo Alto's price strength over the past year, Niknam's call could reflect a sense on Wall Street that its growth prospects still aren't fully baked into the valuation.
Now what: Goldman offered three reasons why Palo Alto's risk/reward trade-off is particularly attractive at this point: "(1) our expectation for significant share gains as the key disruptor in the network security market, at a time when Security is top of mind and enterprises are reassessing their infrastructure post breaches and a potential firewall refresh ... (2) above-consensus expectations for growth heading into F2015 (GS is +3% vs. the street) given a robust product pipeline and benefits of a more fully ramped Sales force, and (3) a stronger than expected ramp in FCF, as the business scales past elevated near-term investments and the revenue mix continues toward a more recurring and visible stream (Subscription/Maintenance)." Given Goldman's solid stock-picking track record -- currently ranked in the top 15% of our CAPS community -- growth-oriented Fools might want to take a closer look at Palo Alto.
Brian Pacampara has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Palo Alto Networks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.