NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Symantec rose to a multiyear high on Wednesday as the maker of Norton antivirus software reported first-quarter profit and revenue that topped Wall Street's expectations.
THE SPARK: Symantec Corp.'s adjusted earnings were 44 cents per share — a record for the quarter. Revenue climbed 2 percent to $1.71 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet predicted earnings of 36 cents per share on revenue of $1.64 billion.
THE ANALYSIS: Gregg Moskowitz of Cowen and Co. said in a client note that the quarterly performance was better than he'd expected, with $1.5 billion in bookings easily topping his $1.44 billion forecast. Symantec also posted a surprise increase in information management revenue, which climbed 4 percent. Moskowitz predicted a 2 percent decline.
The analyst said he supports the Mountain View, Calif. company's new strategy, which includes job cuts and a new focus on integrated products. He reaffirmed an "Outperform" rating and $28 price target.
Dan Cummins of B. Riley & Co. kept a "Buy" rating and increased Symantec's price target to $30 from $27 on the quarterly performance. The analyst was surprised by the revenue growth, as he'd forecast a 1 percent drop.
"With 30 percent of revenue coming from a very profitable consumer franchise battling against the personal computer's competitive decline, we regard the overall revenue performance as noteworthy," Cummins wrote.
A representative for Symantec did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
SHARE ACTION: Up $2.00, or 8.2 percent, to $26.35 in morning trading. The stock hit $26.71 earlier in the session, the highest level since December 2004. Year to date, the shares are up 40 percent.