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Why FireEye Stock Fell 15.9% in September

By Billy Duberstein – Updated Oct 5, 2020 at 12:56PM

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The cybersecurity stock fell hard in an otherwise tough month for technology stocks.

What happened

Shares of FireEye (MNDT) fell 15.9% in September, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The entire cybersecurity sector fell last month, but FireEye has actually performed worse than the other top players in the space.

Many cybersecurity stocks are up for the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated attacks on vulnerable companies. However, FireEye's stock still remains below its January highs and is down 25% on the year.

A blue lock with electronic currents coming out of it and code running behind it.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what 

Many technology stocks pulled back in September, likely due to concerns over stretched valuations, a slew of new initial public offerings hitting the market drawing investor attention, and perhaps some apprehension about the upcoming presidential election.

FireEye has been bid down relative to peers because its legacy product-related business makes up a larger part of its revenue base, at almost half of its annualized recurring revenue. That legacy product and related subscription business is declining, weighing down its overall growth to a middling 6% rate last quarter, far behind some peers. 

However, underneath the hood, FireEye also grew its newer cloud and services-related business at a 27% rate. That bodes well for the company moving forward, as that segment has just become a majority of annualized revenue.

FEYE Year to Date Total Returns (Daily) Chart

FEYE Year to Date Total Returns (Daily) data by YCharts

Now what

FireEye's $2.8 billion market capitalization looks very reasonable compared with its current 2020 revenue guidance for $915 million, or just a three times sales multiple; however, FireEye isn't profitable under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), recording a net loss of $52.2 million last quarter. While that was an improvement over the prior-year quarter's $66.7 million loss, it still indicates a company in turnaround mode.

Cybersecurity is an increasingly competitive field, so there are still a lot of open questions surrounding FireEye's positioning; however, if the company can continue growing its new-aged cloud services on a sustained basis going forward, it may be one to watch for value investors. However, I would probably lean toward the better-quality cyber stocks currently growing faster than FireEye today.

Billy Duberstein has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. His clients may own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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