FBR Capital Markets have upgraded the shares of Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) to "outperform" from "market perform," saying that the company's focused enterprise product strategy and hand holding in the channel/sales reps are paying dividends in the field.
"While the company has posted a string of good prints over the last year, we believe investors have overlooked the sustainability of this improving growth on its core security and storage business," analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note to clients.
Although the macro environment remains choppy, Ives believes Symantec is poised to see improved deal flow on the heels of resilient security growth and good execution in the field, a dynamic that bodes well for healthy bookings growth for the next few quarters.
The analyst also said Symantec is slowly improving its competitive position against McAfee in the high end of the enterprise security market on firmer closure rates, particularly on larger enterprise customers, and improving deal pipeline.
In addition, with spending on enterprise security initiatives still holding up well despite an uncertain IT spending environment, larger well-established vendors such as Symantec are in the driver's seat to gain share at the expense of their smaller, pure-play competitors over the coming quarters.
With the number of endpoints (desktops, mobile, laptops) continuing to increase across enterprises and hacker attacks increasing by the day, it appears Symantec's much improved enterprise product portfolio is well positioned to gain more IT dollars, the analyst said.
The analyst noted that Symantec's "bread and butter" consumer business should remain healthy over the next 12 to 18 months, despite a weakening PC environment, helped by its cross-selling success and high renewal rates.
"Although many investors continue to "wait for the shoe to drop" on Symantec, we believe the SYMC recovery story is just starting to take hold and should fully manifest itself during the course of FY12," Ives wrote.
Shares of Symantec closed on Thursday's regular trading session at $17.12 on Nasdaq.