3 Stocks That Are Rewriting the Rules of Cybersecurity

Stocks to buy

Cybersecurity continues to be an important and growing industry. Companies and individuals alike are spending more money than ever before to protect their online presence and safeguard sensitive data as hacks and cyberattacks proliferate and grow in terms of their sophistication and danger. Industry data shows that global cyberattacks increased 38% in 2022 from 2021. According to market research firm Statista, revenue in the cybersecurity sector is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.48% and reach $273.60 billion by 2028. That’s a strong growth forecast and it has been reflected in the earnings of cybersecurity firms, which just reported their results for this year’s calendar third quarter. Most of the results exceeded Wall Street estimates and have helped multiple cybersecurity stocks more than double in 2023. Here are three stocks that are rewriting the rules of cybersecurity.

CrowdStrike (CRWD)

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CrowdStrike’s (NASDAQ:CRWD) stock has been on a bull run, having gained 128% year-to-date. And the company’s shares got a further boost after its recent earnings report. CRWD stock is up 13% since the leading cybersecurity firm reported strong third-quarter results and raised its full-year guidance. CrowdStrike announced revenue of $786 million and earnings per share (EPS) of 82 cents for Q3. Those numbers topped Wall Street forecasts of $777 million in sales and a profit of 74 cents.

The company’s subscription revenue rose 34% in Q3 to $733.5 million, and CrowdStrike reiterated its goal to reach $10 billion in annual recurring revenue within the next five to seven years. Additionally, CrowdStrike raised its outlook for the entire year, saying it now foresees revenue of $3.05 billion and EPS of $2.95 to $2.96. Analysts seemed particularly impressed with the fact that CrowdStrike reported $223 million of brand new revenue in Q3. Over five years, CRWD stock is up 267%.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW)

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Rival cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks’ (NASDAQ:PANW) didn’t fare quite as well with its Q3 print. PANW stock slipped 5% after the company announced quarterly billings that failed to meet Wall Street forecasts. However, Palo Alto Networks is no slouch. Despite a post-earnings slide, the company’s stock is still up 106% in 2023 and has gained 390% in the last five years. Regardless of the Q3 hiccup, PANW stock has proven to be an excellent long-term investment.

Overall, Palo Alto Networks Q3 numbers were solid. The company announced EPS of $1.38, which was better than the $1.16 consensus forecast of analysts. Revenue came in at $1.88 billion, up 20% from a year earlier and above Wall Street expectations of $1.84 billion. Unfortunately, the company’s billings totaled $2.02 billion, which was short of the consensus estimate of $2.05 billion to $2.08 billion. While disappointing, PANW stock is still a buy and the pullback should be viewed as an opportunity.

Zscaler (ZS)

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Another strong performer over the long haul has been cybersecurity firm Zscaler (NASDAQ:ZS). This year, ZS stock is up 80%. Its five-year performance matches Palo Alto Networks with a 390% gain. That kind of growth is impressive and comes as Zscaler continues to post better-than-expected financial results. The company recently beat Wall Street’s outlook for what was its fiscal first quarter and raised its forward guidance, sending its stock up 21% in the last month.

Zscaler reported EPS of 67 cents, which was well above analyst forecasts of 49 cents. Revenue came in at $496.7 million, up 40% from a year ago and ahead of the $473 million expected on Wall Street. In terms of its billings, Zscaler said they rose 34% to $456.6 million during the latest quarter, which beat consensus estimates of $441 million. Some analysts have voiced concerns about the company’s plan to boost spending to gain market share. However, other analysts say it’s the best way to continue growing.

On the date of publication, Joel Baglole did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Joel Baglole has been a business journalist for 20 years. He spent five years as a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and has also written for The Washington Post and Toronto Star newspapers, as well as financial websites such as The Motley Fool and Investopedia.

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