All through 2022, turmoil was dominating the stock market. While the bear market engulfed tech stocks (cybersecurity stocks included), business for these firms never really slowed down. In fact, it’s been very steady. That’s got me wondering what cybersecurity stocks to buy right now.
The thing about cyber criminals that investors need to keep in mind – they’re secular, not cyclical.
Whether the world is doing great, and the economy is humming along, or it’s the sewer, cybersecurity will need to be in high demand. Cyber criminals are always on the prowl. Thus, retailers, defense companies, governments, corporations and consumers all need some form of cybersecurity to protect against digital theft, data hacks and ransom attacks.
Admittedly, cybersecurity stocks haven’t been immune to some of the market’s recent selloffs. However, largely, these companies have continued to grow quite well. As a result, I believe they’ll be rewarded when the bull market returns.
|PANW||Palo Alto Networks||$191.65|
Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
Considered by many to be the “top dog” in cybersecurity, Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW) has turned a few heads so far this year. Shares are already up 36% so far in 2023 and are up more than 43% from their 2022 low.
That said, PANW stock did suffer a few big corrections, including a peak-to-trough dip of 34.2% in the first half of 2022. Now, it’s worth pointing out that that’s slightly better than peak-to-trough decline of 37.7% in the Nasdaq Composite.
In any case, this stock isn’t cheap. Shares trade at almost 50-times this year’s earnings estimates. Ad if there’s a prolonged, deep dip in the overall market, Palo Alto Networks is likely going down too.
However, tech investors will almost have to go back to this name.
There are only so many places they can invest in tech that didn’t take a top- and/or bottom-line crunch in 2022 and are forecast to grow revenue 25% this year and 20% next year. That’s alongside estimates for 60% earnings growth in 2023, and another 16% next year. Not to mention, it’s one of the few GAAP profitable names in the space.
Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT) underwent a notable correction from its highs, but it took a while for its shares to finally bottom. Once they did, the stock has gone on a strong rally, climbing more than 42% from its trough.
Like Palo Alto Networks, analysts are optimistic about the company’s growth prospects. They expect roughly 20% annual revenue growth this year and next year, alongside roughly 18.5% earnings growth in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
While shares do trade at a little over 43-times this year’s earnings, investors should look at Fortinet as one of the cybersecurity stocks to buy, particularly on a dip. For now, it and Palo Alto Networks have been relative strength leaders, and that should not be ignored if and when a larger market correction comes to fruition.
When the company last reported, it delivered an earnings beat and strong guidance. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives noted:
“Although, Fortinet is held to a higher standard by the Street given the company’s history of large beats stacking against its competitors, we believe this performance and outlook were bullish not just for Fortinet but as a barometer on overall cyber security spending with many bears waiting for a huge stumble out of the gates.”
I think that speaks pretty highly, both of the industry in general, and of Fortinet specifically.
Compared to the first two names on this list, CrowdStrike (NASDAQ:CRWD) will seem a little controversial. The stock has not performed as well as Palo Alto and Fortinet amid the current bear market. Given its financials, that’s no surprise.
Shares suffered a decline of 69% off their highs, rallying around 45% from their lows. In other words, it’s had a far larger decline than the others on this list, but have had an in-line rebound off the lows.
That said, the company recently delivered a top- and bottom-line beat. Even better, guidance for the first quarter and full year topped expectations, while seemingly every measure came in stronger-than-expected.
While analysts have big expectations for the firm, I think investors are simply having a hard time paying almost 60-times this year’s non-GAAP earnings estimates. Indeed, that’s particularly true when investors consider this uncertain environment with declining liquidity.
That said, when the bull market comes back, CrowdStrike is likely going to surge back to life.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell 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.