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David Dierking

A Possible Buy Signal For Cybersecurity Stocks

Check Point Software (CHKP) this morning reported a great Q4 that saw the company beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines. Revenues rose about 6% year-over-year while EPS jumped 21%. Segment revenues from products & licenses, subscriptions and software updates all beat expectations. The results indicate that threat protection demand remains strong, not surprising considering the rash of recent data breaches and a statement from Donald Trump indicating that cybersecurity was going to be one of his top priorities.

Check Point CEO Gil Shwed:

"We had a great finish to 2016 with healthy business growth in all geographies and a nice increase in new customer wins. We realized triple digit growth across our focus areas of mobile and advanced threat prevention, while security gateways delivered double digit growth. It’s great to see the business investments made over the past few years coming to fruition and underscoring a strong quarter."

Check Point is one of the first major cybersecurity companies to report earnings. Strong results could be a harbinger of good news to come as major players such as FireEye (FEYE), CyberArk (CYBR), Proofpoint (PFPT) and Palo Alto Networks (PANW) all report in the next few weeks.

The two major cybersecurity ETFs are the PureFunds ISE Cybersecurity ETF (HACK) and the First Trust NASDAQ Cybersecurity ETF (CIBR). The ETFs are up modestly today but the major players are seeing their stocks rise strongly to varying degrees. The two ETFs are up roughly 4-5% thus far in 2017 and up 22% and 29%, respectively, over the past 12 months.

Broadly strong results in cybersecurity stocks could bump the sector as a whole and the corresponding ETFs up another 5%. Missed earnings tend to get a strong negative response though. Approach with some caution but the trigger for an upside bump could be in place.

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