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Why Palo Alto Networks Stock Dropped 11% in March

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos - Updated Apr 8, 2020 at 2:33PM

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Investors sold off most cybersecurity specialists last month.

What happened

Palo Alto Networks (PANW 2.01%) stock edged past a weak market last month. The stock declined 11% compared to a 12.5% dip in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The slight outperformance wasn't enough to protect shares from trailing wider indexes in 2020, with the stock down 24% so far this year.

A cybersecurity team at work in a room with lots of monitors and screens

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Palo Alto Networks was caught up in the general market drawdown last month, which included top cybersecurity names such as FireEye. Beyond the broader economic slowdown risk from COVID-19 and related containment measures, these software specialists are exposed to supply chain and world trade challenges coming out of Asia.

Those issues likely affected Palo Alto's latest quarterly results, even though management in late February reported a solid 15% sales boost for the prior quarter.

Now what

CEO Nikesh Arora and his team's latest outlook calls for revenue gains to hold steady at roughly 15% for the third quarter and the wider fiscal year. Investors can expect significant adjustments to those financial forecasts when Palo Alto Networks announces its latest operating results in late May. 

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Palo Alto Networks. The Motley Fool recommends FireEye. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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