Palo Alto Networks (PANW) stock jumped by nearly 9% in after-hours trading Friday after an unusually timed earnings release from the cybersecurity firm topped analyst estimates.
The unusual decision to announce fiscal fourth-quarter earnings after the market close on the week’s last trading day ignited angst on Wall Street leading up to the release. Potentially offsetting those concerns: Palo Alto reported adjusted earnings of $1.44 per share for the quarter ending July 31. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $1.29 per share.
Palo Alto’s $1.95 billion in revenue for the quarter was up 26% from the same period last year. But it fell just short of analyst expectations for $1.96 billion.
The company also released its fiscal year 2024 outlook. Further, it estimates it will reach adjusted earnings per share of $5.34 for the year at the midpoint. That represents an increase of 20%.
Palo Alto Stock: Falling This Month
Also, the company is projecting sales between $8.15 billion and $8.2 billion for the 12 months ending in July. Analysts expected $8.4 billion in revenue.
Before its earnings release, PANW stock closed about 1% higher on the stock market today but had fallen by about 16% since the company announced its earnings date on Aug. 2. Shares had climbed more than 80% on the year leading up to the start of the month.
The timing of the earnings may have contributed to trader angst. This is the first time an S&P 500 company has released earnings after market on a Friday in nearly three years, according to MarketWatch.
Palo Alto stock was also pressured when rival Fortinet (FTNT) announced that quarterly earnings missed the mark on Aug 3.
Long Earnings Call Prompts Speculation
On top of the unusual timing, Palo Alto officials told analysts to expect a two-hour earnings call. That prompted a great deal of speculation about what the company would say.
“Our choice of Friday has definitely made us the topic du jour these past two weeks and has made for some very interesting reading of all the analyst notes,” said Nikesh Arora, Palo Alto’s chairman and chief…