Cybersecurity stocks rise on Russia-Ukraine cyberattack fears

Signage outside Palo Alto Networks headquarters in Santa Clara, California, US, on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Cybersecurity stocks were a rare bright spot Thursday as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent major indices down.

The conflict has prompted concerns of cyber attacks, especially against critical infrastructure companies. Since last week, Ukraine has already experienced two cyber attacks that impacted government websites. The US attributed the first attack to Russia, which Russia denied, and said the second attack was consistent with what it would expect from Russia.

Amid the rising anxiety of war, shares of cybersecurity companies like Telos were up more than 11%, Palo Alto Networks up more than 8%, CrowdStrike up more than 7% and Mandiant up more than 5%. Palo Alto Networks had also just reported earnings on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 was down about 1.3% on Thursday and the Nasdaq Composite Index down about 0.8%.

Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note on Tuesday that concerns of cyber attacks could add 200 to 300 base points of growth to the sector, which he said was already poised to increase 20% year-over-year in 2022.

“With a significantly elevated level of cyber attacks now appearing on the horizon, we believe added growth tailwinds for the cyber security sector and well positioned vendors should be a focus sector for tech investors during this turmoil market,” he wrote.

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