Cybersecurity firm Zscaler (ZS) on Monday pre-announced fiscal third-quarter results and raised full fiscal-year guidance, sending ZS stock soaring. Zscaler stock had retreated 20% in 2023 as of Friday amid stiff competition from startup Netskope and Palo Alto Networks (PANW).
ZS stock jumped 20.1% to 107.42 in early trading on the stock market today. Last week, Zscaler stock hit its lowest level in nearly three years.
“The stock had been on a steady downward trend as investors were concerned about the billings growth last quarter and some mixed checks,” MoffettNathanson analyst Sterling Auty said in a note to clients. “Today’s announcement would put revenue about 5% above our estimate at the midpoint, but more importantly the upside in billings shows an acceleration from last quarter.”
He added: “The stock had seen a fair amount of selling, and even short selling, so today’s reaction is not a surprise in light of the magnitude of the positive pre-announcement. But we would note that this move is not typical for Zscaler, and we will be interested to hear if this was done simply in reaction to the stock action or if there was another motivating force.”
For the April quarter, Zscaler said it expects revenue to be in a range of $415 million to $419 million. Its earlier forecast had been $397 million at the midpoint of its outlook. For full-year fiscal 2023, the cybersecurity firm predicted revenue in a range of $1.581 billion to $1.591 billion, up from an earlier outlook of about $1.56 billion.
Zscaler said it expects April quarter non-GAAP income in a range of $60 million to $64 million, versus its earlier prediction of $55 million to $56 million. For full-year 2023, Zscaler said it expects income of about $222 million, compared with its earlier forecast of $214 million.
ZS Stock: Competition Heats Up
Zscaler’s web security gateways inspect customers’ data traffic for malware. Further, the Zscaler Private Access, or ZPA cloud service, replaces virtual private networks, or VPNs, to support remote work.
Research firm Gartner in April said Netskope has gained market share versus Zscaler. Also, a report said Palo Alto Networks was offering customers free services for up to two years to win business.
When Zscaler reported January-quarter results, its billings growth outlook disappointed.
ZS stock owns a Relative Strength Rating of 12 out of a best-possible 99, according to IBD Stock Checkup.
Zscaler is one of many cybersecurity stocks to watch.
PANW stock rose 2% early Monday.
Follow Reinhardt Krause on Twitter @reinhardtk_tech for updates on 5G wireless, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and cloud computing.
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