Palo Alto Networks is on track to post one of the largest stock surges in its history Monday after an unusual scheduling incident inspired conspiracy theories and caused the technology firm’s stock to nearly enter bear territory.
Shares of Palo Alto skyrocketed 16% in early trading after the cloud-based cybersecurity company—which has benefitted from the AI boom—topped analyst estimates for quarterly profit in its Friday afternoon earnings report and projected nearly 20% sales growth over the next three years, a goal Rosenblatt analyst Catharine Trebnick described as “achievable.”
The rally comes after the stock cratered as much as 19% earlier this month for a bizarre reason: scheduling its earnings call for a Friday afternoon, sparking guesses about what may be behind the historically inconvenient timing (the company insisted it was a matter of a busy schedule for executives).
“After weeks of consternation, the [report and call] went much better than many had feared,” UBS analyst Roger Boys wrote in a note to clients.
Notably, the Friday report came with no shock negative announcements, but the earnings call kicked off in a unique fashion, with an apology from CEO Nikesh Arora.
Arora, who admitted the company “enjoyed the attention,” said the meeting ending at roughly 7 p.m. ET had as many participants as their last six earnings calls combined.
Palo Alto’s surge helped the tech-heavy Nasdaq gain nearly 1%, set for its first positive day in a week.
Palo Alto is on pace for its third-largest daily percentage gain since the company went public in 2012, according to Investing.com data. The stock is still down 4% since the company announced the timing of its earnings release earlier this month. But the stock, one of the most heavily exposed plays to the generative artificial intelligence boom, remains up more than 75% year-to-date.
“I don’t know what else to do to make you happy, okay? I’m sorry. It’s Friday night, I’m going home,” Arora quipped to an analyst questioning the company’s mergers and acquisitions philosophy at the conclusion of the 2.5-hour call.
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