Home Editor's Picks Palo Alto Networks stock drops 9% as billings outlook disappoints

Palo Alto Networks stock drops 9% as billings outlook disappoints

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Shares of Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW) tumbled 9% as the company’s soft billings outlook overshadowed its fiscal third-quarter earnings beat.

The cybersecurity leader reported a revenue increase of 15% to $2.0 billion, surpassing both the analyst consensus of $1.97 billion and the previous year’s $1.7 billion. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter also exceeded expectations at $1.32, compared to the predicted $1.25.

The company’s remaining performance obligations grew by 23% year-over-year (YoY) to $11.3 billion, slightly above the estimate of $11.28 billion.

Chairman and CEO Nikesh Arora attributed the strong quarter to customer enthusiasm for the company’s platformization strategy, which integrates artificial intelligence into security measures.

CFO Dipak Golechha highlighted disciplined execution and investment in market and innovation as key drivers of the company’s consistent, profitable growth.

Looking ahead, Palo Alto Networks provided guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter with an EPS range of $1.40 to $1.42, which brackets the consensus of $1.41. Revenue is projected between $2.15 billion and $2.17 billion, in line with the consensus of $2.16 billion.

However, the billings outlook for the fourth quarter and the full fiscal year, ranging from $3.43 billion to $3.48 billion for Q4 and $10.13 billion to $10.18 billion for the year, fell slightly short of analysts’ expectations. This has likely contributed to the negative investor sentiment reflected in PANW stock’s decline.

For the full fiscal year 2024, the company updated its guidance, forecasting a revenue range of $7.99 billion to $8.01 billion, up from the previous range of $7.95 billion to $8.00 billion, and above the consensus estimate of $7.98 billion.

Adjusted EPS is expected to be between $5.56 and $5.58, topping the consensus estimate of $5.52. The company also anticipates an adjusted operating margin between 26.8% and 27.0%, and an adjusted free cash flow margin in the range of 38.5% to 39.0%.

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