Red-Hot PANW Stock Gets Another Bull Note

There's been unusual call trading on Palo Alto at the major options exchanges

by Josh Selway

Published on Jan 24, 2019 at 10:31 AM

Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) has gotten off to a great start to 2019, and that strength is continuing today thanks to another round of bullish analyst attention. Wedbush upgraded the cybersecurity stock to "outperform" from "neutral" and boosted its price target to $265 from $225, saying conversations with those close to the company have allayed fears about a shift to the cloud, adding PANW's outlooks for 2019 and 2020 look conservative.

A number of bull notes had already come through on the equity this year, putting 26 "buy" or "strong buy" ratings in the books, compared to just two "holds" and zero "sells." Similarly, the consensus 12-month price target is up at $245.71, an almost 18% premium to current levels.

Call buyers have been hammering Palo Alto Networks, according to data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio has reached 3.53, and ranks in the 98th annual percentile, showing a much stronger-than-usual demand for long calls over long puts.

Still, it was the weekly 2/8 200-strike put that saw the largest increase in open interest during this 10-day time frame. On the call side, the March 220 strike led the way.

At last check, PANW shares were up 1.1% at $207.99, bringing their year-to-date advance to above 10%. Really, the security has been trending higher since bottoming near $160 in November, as it tries to climb back to its September record high of $239.50.

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