Palo Alto Networks stock gains after BTIG upgrade

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Shares of Palo Alto Networks Inc. are up more than 2% in premarket trading Wednesday after BTIG analyst Gray Powell upgraded the stock to buy from neutral, writing that his conversations within the industry suggest the cybersecurity company has been improving its sales execution for its core firewall business and that trends seemed strong through July. “We heard that Palo Alto Networks’ quarter-end activity was further elevated in July with one contact indicating that it was the busiest ever, he wrote, giving him “a much higher degree of confidence” with regards to the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, which ended in July. Powell also heard of “improved traction” for the company as far as federal government contract wins. Powell set a $313 price target on the shares, which are up 29% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has gained 15%.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.