3 Cybersecurity Stocks Surging on Bull Notes

Outperforming OKTA seems overdue for more upgrades

by Karee Venema

Published on Oct 3, 2019 at 2:41 PM

It's been a wild day of trading on the U.S. stock market, with the major benchmarks last seen in the green. One sector in particular making a notable move today is cybersecurity, after SunTrust Robinson projected cloud software spending will accelerate at a faster-than-expected clip through 2025, and issued bull notes on several individual names, including CrowdStrike Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:CRWD), Okta Inc (NASDAQ:OKTA), and Zscaler Inc (NASDAQ:ZS). Here's a quick look at how the shares of CRWD, OKTA, and ZS are reacting to the upbeat analyst attention.

CrowdStrike Options Bulls Eye a Big Breakout

SunTrust Robinson upgraded CrowdStrike to "buy" from "hold," and maintained its $80 price target  -- a 41% premium to last night's close -- with the analyst in coverage citing the company's impressive growth rate. In reaction, CRWD stock is up 7% to trade at $60.58, but remains well below its Aug. 20 record high of $101.88.

Options traders have been betting on more upside for the stock, too. While the October 60 call is the most heavily populated CRWD strike, while the weekly 10/4 60-strike call is most active today. Data points to buy-to-open activity at both options, meaning speculators are anticipating a sharper move above $60 in the near term.

Okta Stock Bounces from Bullish Trendline

Okta stock was upgraded to "buy" from "hold' at SunTrust Robinson, with the brokerage firm boosting its price target to $134 from $130 -- representing an upside of 30% to Wednesday's close. The equity has already surged 72.7% year-to-date, up 7.3% at $110.59 today, bouncing off its 200-day moving average.

Per Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White, this trendline has had bullish implications in the past, with OKTA shares averaging a one-month gain of 9.1% following the three previous tests of support here, with all three returns positive. A bigger rally could draw more bull notes, too, which could bring more buyers to OKTA's table. Prior to today, seven of 17 analysts called the outperforming stock a lukewarm "hold."

Shorts Have Been Betting Against Zscaler Stock

SunTrust Robinson initiated coverage on Zscaler with a "buy" rating and $73 price target -- a 55% premium to last night's close -- saying the company's security platform is revolutionizing the marketplace. In response, ZS stock is up 4.1% at $48.85, edging above its 10-day moving average in intraday trading, a trendline not toppled on a daily closing basis since Aug. 13.

The shares are still down more than 45% since their July 26 record high of $89.54, pressured by a steady increase in short selling. Specifically, short interest jumped 28% in the Aug. 15 through Sept. 15 reporting periods to 8.02 million shares. This represents a healthy 12.4% of ZS stock's available float, or 2.5 times the average daily trading volume.

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