Symantec Corporation (SYMC - Free Report) shares have added about 3.4% in yesterday’s trading session, outperforming the market.
In the year-to-date period, its shares have gained 28.1%, outperforming the industry’s gain of 24.3%.
Will the recent momentum sustain in the long haul or is it due for a pullback? Before we discuss how investors and analysts have reacted of late, let's take a quick look at the fundamentals and recent trends in order to get a better understand the catalysts.
There were a plenty of reasons which boosted the company’s shares, which includes a better-than-expected first-quarter bottom-line result, upbeat fiscal 2018 revenue guidance and an agreement relating to the sale of its web certificates business.
Symantec’s revenues of $1.175 billion jumped 32.9% year over year and came ahead of its guidance range of $1.133-$1.163 billion (mid-point $1.148 billion). The robust top-line results were mainly driven by strong performance across the company’s Enterprise Security and Consumer Digital Safety segments, as well as benefit from acquisitions and favourable currency exchange rates.
Non-GAAP earnings per share increased 13.8% year over year to 33 cents and came above the company’s projected range of 28-32 cents.
Beating its own guidance range at every point made the company optimistic about its solid prospects and therefore, it raised fiscal 2018 revenue and non-GAAP earnings outlook. For the fiscal, Symantec now expects GAAP revenues in the range of $5.037-$5.137 billion (mid-point $5.087 billion) and non-GAAP revenues in the range of $5,160-$5,260 billion (mid-point $5.210 billion), up from the previous guidance ranges of $4.977-$5.077 billion (mid-point $5.02 billion) and $5,100-$5,200 billion (mid-point $5.150 billion), respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fiscal is pegged at $5.15 billion.
Non-GAAP earnings per share are now projected to come between $1.79 and $1.89, up from the earlier forecast of $1.75-$1.85.
Symantec had also announced that privately owned DigiCert Inc. has agreed to buy its Website Security business for $950 million in cash and approximately 30% stake in the latter’s business. Symantec’s Website Security solution verifies the identity of websites.
We believe that the recent move is an effort by the company to end the ongoing dispute with Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google which has accused it for mis-issuing over 30,000 of web certifications.
Going ahead, the prospects of cybersecurity companies look bright as the recent global hackings, like WannaCry and Petya, have started to adversely affect the top and bottom-line results of various organizations like Mondelez, FedEx and Merck & Co. The silver lining in this entire episode will be the rise in demand for security-related products among companies and governments, in our opinion.
We believe that this could bring Symantec back in to the limelight. Moreover, the recent deal to acquire Israel-based Fireglass will further strengthen its leadership position in Secure Web Gateway and Email protection, both delivered on premises and in the cloud.
Moreover, investment in growth areas such as Enterprise Backup, Storage Management and Security businesses are likely to boost its long-term prospects. Additionally, restructuring initiatives and synergies from acquisitions are likely to support the company’s bottom-line.
On the valuation front too, the stock looks attractive. The company currently trades at a forward P/E multiple of 16.3x, significantly lower than the industry average of 45.9x. The ratio, which is obtained by dividing a stock’s current market price with its historical or estimated earnings, measures how much an investor needs to shell out per dollar of earnings. Therefore, lower the P/E of a stock, the better for investors.
Notably, the stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Last quarter, the company posted a positive earnings surprise of 10%. Additionally, the stock has long-term earnings per share growth rate of 11.2%.
In our opinion, the stock deserves a place in investor’s portfolio and we are expecting an impressive return from the stock in the next few months.
Better-ranked stocks worth considering are Applied Optoelectronics, Inc. (AAOI - Free Report) and Micron Technology, Inc. (MU - Free Report) , both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Long-term expected EPS growth rate for Applied Optoelectronics and Micron is 17.5% and 10%, respectively.
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