Our theme of Cyber Security Stocks has outperformed considerably, rising by about 51% year to date, compared to the S&P 500 which remains up by about 26% over the same period. There has been rising interest in cybersecurity following the Covid-19 pandemic, as companies looked to secure their increasingly distributed operations with more employees working from home. Moreover, multiple high-profile cyber attacks in recent months have also made companies prioritize their security spending. For perspective, the companies in our theme grew revenue at a compounded annual rate of around 34% over the last three years, compared to the S&P 500 companies, which grew revenue at under 5% each year over the same period.
That said, there are some risks. Most of the stocks in our theme are high-multiple names, and prices can be volatile and highly sensitive to quarterly growth rates. Moreover, with inflation in the U.S. soaring to multi-year highs, there is a real possibility that we could see sooner than expected rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, and this could also hurt these stocks in the near term.
Within our theme, Fortinet, a company that provides cybersecurity-related hardware such as firewalls and software, has been the strongest performer, rising by about 124% year-to-date on account of stronger than expected quarterly results and its ongoing pivot to the cloud. The stock is also up by over 3x from pre-Covid levels. On the other side, the stock price for Okta, an identity, and access management company, has declined by about 12% year-to-date.
[8/6/2021] Why Cyber Security Stocks Have Rallied Over The Last Month
Our theme of Cyber Security Stocks has gained a solid 6% over the last month and remains up by about 22% year-to-date. In comparison, the broader Nasdaq-100
Within our theme, Fortinet, a company that provides cybersecurity-related hardware such as firewalls and software, has been the strongest performer, rising by about 102% year-to-date on account of stronger than expected quarterly results and its ongoing pivot to the cloud. On the other side, the stock price for Qualys, a company that provides cloud security, compliance, and related services, remains down by about 14% this year, as its guidance for this fiscal year was weaker than expected. Other stocks in our theme include CrowdStrike
[6/8/2021] Cyber Security Stocks To Watch After Colonial Pipeline And JBS Hacks
Our theme of Cyber Security Stocks remains down by about 1% year-to-date, significantly underperforming the S&P 500 which has gained about 13% over the same period. However, the theme has picked up a bit since our last update in mid-May, when it was down by 6%. The underperformance versus the broader indices is likely due to the fact that most of the stocks in the theme are high-growth, high-multiple names that have been out of favor in the current market, as investors rotate into value and cyclical stocks to play the post-Covid boom in the U.S. economy. However, there’s good reason for investors with a long-term view to increase their exposure to cybersecurity stocks. Companies and governments are getting more serious about protecting their networks and infrastructure, following multiple high-profile cybersecurity incidents in recent months, including the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, the SolarWinds
Within our theme, Fortinet
Our theme of Cyber Security Stocks has declined by about -6% year-to-date, significantly underperforming the S&P 500 which has gained about 11% over the same period. However, the sector is likely to come back into focus for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there was a major cyber attack on the computer systems of the Colonial Pipeline forcing a shutdown of a pipeline that controls roughly half the gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel flowing along the U.S. East Coast. This marks the second major attack on core U.S. infrastructure in six months, coming on the heels of the Solar Winds hack which was reported last December. Secondly, last week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at bolstering the federal government’s cybersecurity defenses, with a host of plans to implement stronger cybersecurity standards. The recent events are likely to cause companies and the U.S. government re-assess threats and potentially increase cybersecurity-related budgets. This should bode well for companies that provide software, hardware, and services that help protect computer systems and networks.
Within our theme, Fortinet, a company that provides cybersecurity-related hardware and software, has been the strongest performer, rising by about 37% year-to-date driven by stronger than expected earnings in recent quarters. On the other side, the stock price for Qualys a company that provides cloud security, compliance, and related services, remains down by about 18% this year, as its outlook for this fiscal year was lighter than analysts expected.
[4/14/2021] How’s Our Cybersecurity Theme Faring?
Our indicative portfolio of Cyber Security Stocks has declined by about -1% year-to-date, underperforming the S&P 500 which has gained about 10% over the same period. However, the theme remains up by over 130% since the end of 2019, significantly outperforming the broader markets. The recent sell-off comes as investors book profits on remote working and SaaS stocks that rallied big through the pandemic. However, this could present a good opportunity for investors to enter the cybersecurity space. Global IT spending is expected to pick up this year after a muted 2020, rising by about 8.4% to $4.1 trillion per Gartner
[3/11/2021] Time To Buy Cybersecurity Stocks?
Our indicative portfolio of Cyber Security Stocks has declined by about 8% year-to-date, driven by the broader sell-off in technology and high growth stocks. The theme has also underperformed the Nasdaq-100, which is down by about 4% over the same period. However, we think this could be a good time to enter these stocks. Governments and corporations are likely to prioritize digital security spending following some recent high-profile cyber attacks. In December, there was a sizable data breach on U.S. Federal government computer systems, tied to network management software vendor SolarWinds. More recently, Verkada, a company that provides cloud-based security camera services to a host of institutions and companies including Tesla
[2/22/2021] Cybersecurity Stocks To Watch After SolarWinds Attack
Our indicative theme of Cybersecurity Stocks has returned over 150% since the end of 2019, compared to gains of about 21% on the S&P 500 over the same period. The theme is up by about 5% year-to-date. Cybersecurity companies typically provide software, hardware, and services that help protect computer systems and networks from data theft and potential disruption of services. The sector saw renewed interest late last year, following news of a large cyber-attack on IT infrastructure and network management software vendor SolarWinds, causing increasing concerns that software tools used daily by organizations and governments could be vulnerable. More broadly, following Covid-19, economic activity is increasingly moving online with businesses also becoming more distributed on account of the work from home trend. This should cause companies to prioritize their cybersecurity spending. Within our theme, Zscaler and CrowdStrike have been the strongest performers, with their stock prices rising by almost 5x each since the end of 2019. On the other hand, Qualys has underperformed, declining by about 16% over the same period.
See our Cybersecurity Stocks theme for a complete list of the companies in our theme and a look at their recent performance.
[5/22/2020] Cybersecurity Stocks
Cybersecurity stocks have rallied sharply this year, with our indicative theme of six cybersecurity stocks that include Palo Alto Networks
Zscaler ($10 billion market cap, $303 million FY’19 revenue), offers two tools, namely Zscaler Private Access which provides secure access to internally managed applications, that are hosted internally in data centers or in private or public clouds, and Zscaler Internet Access, which enables users to connect to externally managed applications such as Microsoft’s
Palo Alto Networks ($23 billion market cap, $2.9 billion revenue) is a cybersecurity company best known for its firewalls, which are network security devices that scan for malicious traffic. The company has been increasingly focusing on cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) security tools. While the stock is down slightly year-to-date, partly due to slowing revenue growth, the company could be a good long-term bet as businesses increasingly move online.
CrowdStrike ($17 billion, $481 million revenue) offers a cloud-delivered endpoint protection platform, which relies on lightweight software running on the customer’s servers or laptops. These applications, in turn, send data to a cloud-based security system that analyses threats. The stock is up by over 60% year-to-date, as the coronavirus pandemic has expanded the company’s addressable market meaningfully.
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