It's been a volatile ride for FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) so far in 2015. By June, shares had surged by as much as 75%, only to fall nearly 50% from those levels. The volatility is likely to continue when the cybersecurity specialist reports third-quarter results on Nov. 4.
In its second-quarter earnings press release, FireEye's management issued Q3 guidance including expectations for revenue in the range of $164 million to $168 million and net loss of between $0.44 and $0.48 per share. Beyond the headline figures, here are some key items to watch for in FireEye's Q3 results, which will likely determine whether future volatility is to the upside or downside.
Is this growth story still intact?
Investors have so far been willing to overlook heavy losses and instead focus on FireEye's torrid revenue growth. But FireEye's sales growth has begun to decelerate, with revenue increasing 56% year over year in Q2, compared to 69% growth in Q1 and 184% growth in the prior year quarter. So investors will not only be focused on Q3's revenue figure, but also any comments by management relating to updated full year sales outlook.
For Q3, investors will likely want to see revenue growth of at least 45%. Probably even more importantly, shareholders will look for any comments from management as to whether the company remains on track to hit its full-year revenue guidance of between $630 million and $645 million.
Can FireEye continue to compete and win?
Part of the reason why FireEye's shares have fallen from their highs is that several Wall Street analysts have begun to question whether FireEye can withstand the onslaught of competition by other cybersecurity providers, particularly those that offer a broader suite of products such as Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW).
To gain insight into the competitive dynamics of this industry, we can look to metrics such as renewal rate and gross margin. The renewal rate will tell us how well FireEye is retaining its customers, and gross margin helps to shed light on FireEye's pricing power. In this regard, investors will likely want to see renewal rates above 90% and gross margins of at least 70%.
How to access FireEye's results
FireEye will announce its third-quarter financial results tomorrow at approximately 4 p.m. ET. Investors can tune in to its live conference call, where management will discuss the quarter's results at 5:00 p.m. ET. Both the release and a link to the conference call will be available at the company's investor relations website.
Joe Tenebruso has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends FireEye. The Motley Fool recommends Palo Alto Networks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.