Cyber security firm Palo Alto's forecast disappoints Wall Street

(Reuters) - Palo Alto Networks Inc PANW.N forecast fourth-quarter revenue and an adjusted profit that disappointed Wall Street, overshadowing the cyber security company's better-than-expected 48 percent jump in third-quarter revenue.

The company's shares fell 8.1 percent to $136.18 in extended trading on Thursday. Peers FireEye Inc FEYE.O and Fortinet Inc FTNT.O also fell more than 2 percent.

Palo Alto forecast an adjusted fourth-quarter profit of 48-50 cents per share and revenue of $386 million-$390 million.

The midpoints of those ranges are below analysts’ expectations of a profit of 50 cents per share and revenue of $389.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The forecast would also represent revenue growth of 36 percent-37 percent in the current quarter, making it the slowest rate of growth since Palo Alto went public in 2012.

Palo Alto also reported a bigger third-quarter loss as it spent more on marketing its products.

The company said operating expenses jumped 50 percent in the quarter ended April 30, from a year earlier. Sales and marketing expenses also rose 54 percent.

Billings, defined as total revenue plus the change in deferred revenue, rose 61 percent to $486.2 million in the third quarter.

Analysts expect the company to continue to gain market share from traditional security service providers as Palo Alto shifts to more lucrative subscription-based services and customers move to newer cloud platforms.

Palo Alto’s net loss widened to $70.2 million, or 80 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $45.9 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 42 cents per share, in line with the average analyst estimate.

The company’s revenue rose to $345.8 million from $234.2 million, beating analysts’ estimate of $339.5 million.

Up to Thursday’s close, shares of the company have fallen 17.3 percent this year.

Reporting by Narottam Medhora in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel