What happened

FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) shares beat the market last month, gaining 19% compared to a 2% increase in the S&P 500, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The rally nearly pushed the stock back into positive territory for the year but kept returns well below the broader market so far in 2019.

So what

October's rally was powered by strong earnings results from the cybersecurity specialist, which announced late in the month that sales beat management's targets for the fiscal third quarter. Revenue rose 7% on a double-digit increase in software billings thanks to continued robust demand for cloud-based subscription services.

A man dressed in a suit points to a shield icon with a lock on it

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Even including the recent upgrade, FireEye's outlook still predicts just modest growth in 2019, which helps explain why investors aren't thrilled about its growth potential in an increasingly crowded field.

A few more encouraging quarterly earnings reports like last month's announcement could slowly change that sentiment, though, and push shares higher into 2020.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.