stock plunged early Friday and dragged other cybersecurity names lower after the company said deals were being delayed due to macroeconomic uncertainty.
(ticker: FTNT) stock declined 25% to $56.42 and was on pace for its largest ever daily percentage drop, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
A number of Fortinet’s peers fell in early trading, including
Palo Alto Networks
(PANW), which was 8.2% lower,
(CRWD) down 4.7%, and
(ZS), which declined 4.6%.
Chief Financial Officer Keith Jensen said an “unusually large volume of deals” the company expected to close in June were pushed out to future quarters instead. He said macro uncertainty impacted Fortinet’s billings performance and an elevated level of deals being delayed.
On top of that, Fortinet’s third-quarter guidance also fell short of expectations. The company expects revenue of between $1.315 billion and $1.375 billion, lower than the $1.38 billion expected by analysts before its earnings.
Wall Street wasn’t quite as downhearted as investors appeared to be Friday. Wedbush analysts, led by Dan Ives, maintained an Outperform rating on the stock, with a price target of $69. They said this quarter was a “bump in the road in the overall growth story,” and that they believe Fortinet was well-placed to capitalize on tailwinds in the second half of 2023 and into 2024.
RBC Capital Markets analysts also said the results don’t alter the long-term outlook.
“Overall, the long-term opportunity remains intact, in our view, though with the stock up 56% year-to-date shares are likely off following the results and as investors look to gauge the billings trajectory through next year,” they said in a research note. They maintained a Sector Perform, equivalent to Neutral, rating on the stock, with a price target of $68.
Guggenheim analysts also stuck with a Neutral rating, albeit without a price target, following Fortinet’s earnings. They said that Fortinet’s competitive positioning is stronger and its opportunity larger than it was in the previous cycle. However, they added that “one can’t help question whether underlying demand will return near to medium term, or if this is the beginning of a slowdown due to incremental competitive pressure and/or architectural shifts away from hardware form factors.”
The commentary, and outlook, overshadowed the fact that adjusted earnings in the second quarter of 38 cents a share beat expectations of 34 cents, according to FactSet data. Revenue of $1.29 billion narrowly missed estimates of $1.3 billion.
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