Proofpoint (PFPT) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Proofpoint (NASDAQ:PFPT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $143.00 price target on the software maker’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Proofpoint's first-quarter results benefited from a firm international footing and solid uptick in emerging suite of products. Robust demand for Email Fraud Defense and Threat Response is a tailwind. Its new offerings have expanded the total addressable market by more than $6 billion and are proving to be a key growth catalyst. Renewal rate is consistently high. Management is confident about retaining revenue growth of 20% or more while maintaining free cash flow margins in the mid-20s in 2019. Moreover, the company raised its view for 2019 revenues, which is encouraging. Sturdy adoption of cloud is boosting demand for its solutions. However, Proofpoint expects headwinds this year due to zero contribution from the Cloudmark’s OEM business. Moreover, continuous investment in sales and marketing is expected to weigh on the company’s bottom line in the near term. Shares have underperformed the industry year to date.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. Piper Jaffray Companies lifted their price target on shares of Proofpoint from $120.00 to $136.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Monday, April 8th. BidaskClub raised shares of Proofpoint from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 10th. Bank of America began coverage on shares of Proofpoint in a research note on Friday, April 12th. They set a buy rating and a $155.00 price objective on the stock. Wedbush reissued an outperform rating and set a $130.00 price objective on shares of Proofpoint in a research note on Friday, April 12th. Finally, Deutsche Bank lifted their price objective on shares of Proofpoint from $95.00 to $125.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, April 25th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating, nineteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $132.50.

Shares of NASDAQ:PFPT opened at $124.58 on Tuesday. Proofpoint has a one year low of $75.92 and a one year high of $131.43. The company has a market cap of $6.93 billion, a PE ratio of -108.33 and a beta of 1.79.

Proofpoint (NASDAQ:PFPT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The software maker reported ($0.33) EPS for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of ($0.33). Proofpoint had a negative net margin of 15.82% and a negative return on equity of 14.48%. The company had revenue of $202.90 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $199.32 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.30 EPS. Proofpoint’s revenue was up 24.9% on a year-over-year basis. Research analysts expect that Proofpoint will post -0.82 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Proofpoint news, CEO Gary Steele sold 20,000 shares of Proofpoint stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $122.16, for a total value of $2,443,200.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 162,209 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $19,815,451.44. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP Robert Darren Lee sold 8,031 shares of Proofpoint stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $114.43, for a total transaction of $918,987.33. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 6,698 shares in the company, valued at approximately $766,452.14. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 128,258 shares of company stock worth $15,485,325 in the last three months. 2.93% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in PFPT. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC lifted its stake in Proofpoint by 149.9% in the third quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 1,812,611 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $192,735,000 after buying an additional 1,087,297 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new position in Proofpoint in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $39,840,000. Teachers Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Proofpoint by 111.0% in the third quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 849,483 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $90,326,000 after buying an additional 446,817 shares in the last quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC lifted its stake in Proofpoint by 143.0% in the third quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 734,917 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $78,144,000 after buying an additional 432,467 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its stake in Proofpoint by 67.2% in the fourth quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 925,102 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $77,534,000 after buying an additional 371,864 shares in the last quarter. 95.72% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Proofpoint Company Profile

Proofpoint, Inc operates as a security-as-a-service provider that enables large and mid-sized organizations to defend, protect, archive, and govern their sensitive data worldwide. It offers protection against advanced and targeted threats, including malicious attachments, polymorphic threats, zero-day exploits, user-transparent ‘drive-by' downloads, malicious Web links, hybrid threats, malware free attacks, and other penetration tactics.

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