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Why Palo Alto Networks Stock Gained 20% in April

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos - May 11, 2020 at 2:52PM

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Investors are betting the pandemic won't halt the cybersecurity specialist's recent momentum.

What happened

Palo Alto Networks (PANW -1.99%) shares outperformed a rallying market last month, gaining 20% compared to a 13% increase for the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The boost put the cybersecurity specialist back ahead of the market, but its shares remain in modestly negative territory year to date, down 5%.

Inside a cybersecurity division.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Palo Alto Networks' stock was hit hard during the market's plunge during February and March; some of April's bounce reflected investors regaining some optimism. The company also just closed its acquisition of CloudGenix for $420 million, the latest in a long string of potentially high-return purchases aimed at bulking up its security platform.

Now what

Palo Alto Networks will announce its fiscal third-quarter results on May 21. Back in February, executives predicted that sales growth would speed up slightly compared to the prior quarter's 15% boost. However, the COVID-19 pandemic may have led some clients and potential clients to delay cybersecurity projects, and the company has struggled with weak firewall sales in recent quarters.

Yet most investors who follow the stock are still expecting double-digit sales increases for this quarter and fiscal 2020.

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