Proofpoint (PFPT) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Proofpoint (NASDAQ:PFPT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Wednesday. The firm currently has $102.00 target price on the software maker’s stock.

According to Zacks, “The cybersecurity company, Proofpoint has outperformed the industry to which it belongs to on a year-to-date basis. The company’s sustained focus on launching new products, acquisitions with the likes of FireLayers and partnerships have helped it to register approximately 35% revenue growth continuously for the last few quarters. The company also maintains a high renewal rate of more than 90% which signifies that it has a better product portfolio and stickier customers. A high renewal rate indicates more predictable revenues and a lesser selling cost. Nonetheless, the company’s somewhat pessimistic outlook for the next year makes us slightly cautious about its long-term growth prospect. Moreover, since it continues to invest in sales and marketing, we anticipate this to remain a drag on the company’s bottom line in the near term. Intensifying competition and an uncertain macroeconomic environment add to its woes.”

PFPT has been the topic of a number of other reports. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a buy rating and set a $103.00 target price on shares of Proofpoint in a report on Thursday, August 31st. Wedbush reissued an outperform rating and set a $104.00 target price on shares of Proofpoint in a report on Friday, September 8th. Piper Jaffray Companies set a $100.00 target price on shares of Proofpoint and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Sunday, October 15th. BidaskClub raised shares of Proofpoint from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, December 22nd. Finally, Evercore ISI set a $105.00 target price on shares of Proofpoint and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Friday, October 20th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and twenty-two have issued a buy rating to the stock. Proofpoint presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $102.39.

Proofpoint (PFPT) opened at $88.81 on Wednesday. Proofpoint has a 52 week low of $70.30 and a 52 week high of $97.92. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 11.57, a current ratio of 1.51 and a quick ratio of 1.51.

Proofpoint (NASDAQ:PFPT) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 19th. The software maker reported $0.25 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.18 by $0.07. The company had revenue of $134.30 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $131.48 million. Proofpoint had a negative net margin of 20.19% and a negative return on equity of 158.19%. The firm’s revenue was up 34.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.19 earnings per share. analysts expect that Proofpoint will post -0.88 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Proofpoint news, CEO Gary Steele sold 40,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $92.35, for a total transaction of $3,694,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Tracey Newell sold 8,183 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $94.82, for a total transaction of $775,912.06. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 25,001 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,370,594.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 168,549 shares of company stock worth $15,141,422. Corporate insiders own 5.96% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in PFPT. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Proofpoint by 249.7% during the 2nd quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 823,521 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $71,506,000 after buying an additional 588,015 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its stake in Proofpoint by 133.9% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 870,784 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $76,551,000 after buying an additional 498,462 shares during the period. ETF Managers Group LLC acquired a new position in Proofpoint during the 2nd quarter valued at about $43,157,000. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership increased its stake in Proofpoint by 20.4% during the 2nd quarter. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership now owns 2,786,122 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $241,919,000 after buying an additional 472,407 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Proofpoint by 9.7% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 3,503,427 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $304,204,000 after buying an additional 309,998 shares during the period.

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About Proofpoint

Proofpoint, Inc is a security-as-a-service provider that enables large and mid-sized organizations to defend, protect, archive and govern their sensitive data. The Company’s security-as-a-service platform consists of an integrated suite of on-demand data protection solutions, including threat protection, incident response, regulatory compliance, archiving, governance, eDiscovery and secure communication.

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