Shares of VeriSign Inc. (VRSN - Free Report) rallied to a new 52-week high of $97.50, eventually closing a tad lower at $97.18 on Jul 13. The shares have massively outperformed the S&P 500 on a year-to-date basis. While the index has gained 9.5%, the stock returned 27.7%.
The bullish run reflects the positive outlook for cybersecurity stocks post the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks.
We note that VeriSign delivered positive average earnings surprise of 3.80% over the past four quarters. Revenues have also beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate over the same period.
The strong demand for VeriSign’s products; raised guidance and consistent execution have positively impacted earnings estimates. Notably, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2017 increased by 7 cents to $3.69 over the last 30 days. For fiscal 2018, the Zacks Consensus Estimate increased by 16 cents to $4.03 over the same time frame.
This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has a market capital of $9.87 billion and a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 8%.
Increasing instances of cybercrime have expanded the scope for cyber security providers like VeriSign.
The company is also benefiting from strong gTLD prospects, international expansion through IDNs, investments in intellectual properties as well as growth opportunities in the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) security market. The company also has significant growth opportunities in the network security products space.
Moreover, the divestiture of iDefense Security Intelligence Services will help the company to focus on core operations in our view.
However, the negative impact of search engine adjustments on domain monetization and increasing operating expenses related to marketing remain primary headwinds.
Stocks to Consider
Better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include NetEase (NTES - Free Report) , XG technology and Sabre Corporation (SABR - Free Report) . While NetEase and Sabre sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), XG has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks Rank #1 stocks here.
Long-term earnings growth rates for NetEase, XG and Sabre are projected to be 17.45%, 20.00% and 9.27%, respectively.
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