Wall Street is bullish on a number of cybersecurity stocks. They could benefit from Russian cyberwar.
The threat of a war in Ukraine has shaken the stock market in recent weeks. The turmoil could pave the way for some sectors to see outsize benefits.
Russian troops have been massing on Ukraine’s borders amid Moscow’s objections to the Eastern European country’s possible membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Western defensive alliance. The picture has only darkened of late.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway regions in Eastern Ukraine—already controlled by separatists—on Monday and ordered troops into the area under the guise of peacekeeping. A wave of sanctions followed from around the world, largely targeting Russian financial institutions and elites. The invasion of Ukraine “has begun,” U.K. cabinet minister Sajjid Javid said Tuesday.
All-out war from here would come at great cost of life and be a humanitarian disaster. But the conflict is unlikely to be isolated to troops on the ground.
Russia has emerged as a powerful force in cyberwarfare over the past decade. Analysts believe that Moscow could look to leverage this capability in a wider conflict to target Ukrainian data centers, networks, sensitive data, and other digital vulnerability points such as in infrastructure.
“With the Ukraine conflict now front and center and poised to widen, we expect a surge of cybersecurity attacks from Russia state-sponsored organizations that could change the game for U.S./European enterprises and governments over the coming months,” Dan Ives, an analyst at broker and investment bank Wedbush, said in a note.
Ives names nine stocks that are well placed to pick up business from the development.
The first he highlights is
Palo Alto Networks
(ticker: PANW), which has seen its shares jump 7.5% in premarket trading Wednesday after the group reported strong demand for its security software in its latest quarterly results.
(CYBR) round out the list of nine.
Ives isn’t alone in being bullish on these stocks; Wall Street generally likes them. Of the group of nine, all except
have an average broker rating of Buy, according to FactSet data. Madiant has an average rating of hold, but the consensus target price on the stock still implies 14% upside.
The potential is even better for the others. The average target price among analysts for Palo Alto Network stock suggests 31% upside, with
set to climb 47%, Crowdstrike 64%, Tenable 44%, Varonis 57%,
21%, CyberArk 44%, and
a whopping 141%. Even more moderate gains would still be significant.
“With a significantly elevated level of cyberattacks now appearing on the horizon, we believe added growth tailwinds for the cybersecurity sector and well positioned vendors should be a focus sector for tech investors during this market turmoil,” Ives said.
Write to Jack Denton at firstname.lastname@example.org