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Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE:PANW) Could Hit a Major Breakdown

Shares in Palo Alto Networks Inc  hit below $160 on Friday morning for the first time since May. The firm is involved in enterprise security and it is one of those most sorely hit by the market collapse of recent days. Palo Alto Networks traded at well above the value of the market as a whole, and it’s an interesting stock to look at for clues about the way the market, in general, is going.

palo alto networks inc break down

At time of writing shares in Palo Alto Networks were selling for $158.99 in the pre-market. OVer the last five days the stock has lost more than 7 percent of its value. Most of that loss came during Thursday’s momentum upheaval. The stock was one of the worst hit large caps on Thursday.

Palo Alto Networks Inc bets on security

Despite being absent from the headlines, Palo Alto Networks Inc is a $14B firm. It’s involved in building secure platforms for businesses to work their software through. This week, in the wake of the huge Ashley Madison leak, could have been the firm’s time to shine.

Instead we got a complete breakdown as a result of money fleeing risky parts of the market. Palo Alto Networks is forecast to record earnings of 83 cents per share for the full year 2015. That means that its forward multiple sits at more than 193 on this morning’s market.

With such a balloon in value in the first half of this year, it’s no surprise that market weakness drove shares down harshly. Since the start of the year shares in Palo Alto Networks have gained more than 30 percent. The question is, how far can the firm’s shares fall if China continues to do poorly and Janet Yellen continues to confuse the market.

How low can Palo Alto Networks Inc go?

Wall Street is still in the midst of a love affair with Palo Alto Networks . When a major breakdown like that on Thursday happens it can take a long time for research houses to regroup and re-evaluate. The median price target on the firm’s shares stands at $191. The lowest on Wall Street comes in at $175.

The firm was one of four that Brean Capital analyst Frank Longman said were “pristine” in a report he published on Wednesday August 19. He said that there’s very little downside beyond the key support level between $150 and $160.

Mr. Longman noted that the shares “seems inclined to backfill to support”at that level. Palo Alto Networks has not gone below $150 since a brief slump in May of this year.

Longman clearly thinks that Palo Alto Networks  will continue to see support at that level. In pre-market trading on Friday traders didn’t seem to feel too bad about sending shares below $160.

Should they collapse to less than $155 they may be in the midst of a big technical breakdown heading into the weekend.

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