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Why Zscaler, Alteryx, and Okta Plunged Today

By Steve Symington – Updated Nov 19, 2018 at 5:12PM

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These three stocks fell hard along with the broader market. Here's what investors need to know.

What happened

Shares of Okta (OKTA 0.12%) fell nearly 16%, Zscaler (ZS -0.92%) dropped 12%, and Alteryx (AYX -2.51%) declined 13% on Monday despite a lack of company-specific news.

Rather, with most tech stocks falling hard today -- the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK -1.92%) closed down 3.8%, for example, badly underperforming even the S&P 500's painful 1.8% decline -- it seems these three promising stocks are being dragged down in the process. 

Close up of stock market charts with a yellow arrow indicating losses

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

So what

There were no press releases, downgrades, or concerning developments that might otherwise merit such declines for these companies.

That said, Alteryx stock was up 36% in the month leading up to Friday's close -- an upward move extended by a nice post-earnings pop just over a week ago after the data science and analytics software company handily beat third-quarter expectations and raised its full-year guidance. Similar to Okta, Altyerix's top line climbed an impressive 59% year over year, resulting in a surprise adjusted profit of $0.08 per share. By contrast, the company's guidance called for more modest revenue growth and a net loss of $0.05 per share.

Meanwhile, Okta has proven particularly volatile in recent months. The cloud-based security leader climbed 14% in September after its fiscal second-quarter results absolutely crushed expectations, with a narrower-than-expected loss coming on impressive 57% year-over-year revenue growth. Then, however, Okta plunged 17% last month on what appeared to be valuation concerns for richly priced tech stocks in general. As it stands, Okta is poised to release its fiscal third-quarter 2019 results early next month.

Finally, even after today's drop, fellow cloud-based security solutions company Zscaler has still more than doubled since its IPO at $16 per share in March. That rise includes a nearly 30% single-day pop in June following Zscaler's inaugural quarterly report as a publicly traded company. And in early September, the company capped a fiscal year in which revenue grew 51% and free cash flow turned positive for the first time.

Now what

As it stands, both Okta and Zscaler are poised to release their next quarterly results in early December, so investors should receive fresh color on whether the momentum of their underlying businesses has remained intact. Alteryx's management, for their part, insisted in their report earlier this month that the company "continues to benefit from strong global demand for analytics" and will sustain investments in the business to make the most of those industry tailwinds. 

In the meantime, though, shareholders would do well to remember that volatility -- both up and down -- is par for the course when investing in high-growth tech names like these.

Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Okta. The Motley Fool recommends Alteryx and Zscaler. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Okta Stock Quote
Okta
OKTA
$56.87 (0.12%) $0.07
Alteryx Stock Quote
Alteryx
AYX
$55.84 (-2.51%) $-1.44
Zscaler Stock Quote
Zscaler
ZS
$164.37 (-0.92%) $-1.52
The Select Sector SPDR Trust - The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund Stock Quote
The Select Sector SPDR Trust - The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund
XLK
$118.78 (-1.92%) $-2.32

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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