What: Shares of cybersecurity technologist Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW) sank as low as 10.9% on Thursday after JMP Securities offered a cautious note on the stock.

So what: Palo Alto has rallied over the past few days on optimism heading into earnings next week, but JMP's reseller checks -- indicating "more rushed than usual" shipping activity, as well as "a challenging sales environment" -- are quickly dampening that bullishness. Of course, just two days ago, D.A. Davidson called Palo Alto a "best-of-breed" software security play and upgraded the stock with a $186 price target, so Fools would do well to take JMP's short-term-oriented call with a grain of salt.

Now what: Palo Alto is set to report earnings on Feb. 25, and as my colleague Steve Symington noted earlier this month, management has a propensity for topping expectations. And while JMP also lowered its price target on Palo Alto from $220 to $165, the firm does believe that overall sales momentum remains strong. In other words, investors should just wait patiently until next Thursday to see how the business is really performing. 

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.