By Wallace Witkowski, MarketWatch
Cloud-computing and cybersecurity stocks outperformed broader indexes Monday as shares of Salesforce.com Inc. closed at an all-time high and on heightened concerns of an Iranian cyberattack against the U.S.
Salesforce /zigman2/quotes/200515854/composite CRM +0.33% shares closed 4.4% higher Monday at a record $173.45, after touching an intraday record of $173.67, after one analyst called the stock his top pick and hiked his price target.
In comparison, the iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF /zigman2/quotes/201870252/composite IGV +0.23% and the First Trust Cloud Computing ETF /zigman2/quotes/205187458/composite SKYY +0.23% both gained 1.2%. The S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.45% finished up 0.4%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.52% rose 0.6%.
In a Sunday note, RBC Capital analyst Alex Zukin raised Salesforce to a “Top Pick” from an outperform rating “given what we see as significant upside potential in 2020,” and hiked his price target to $215 from $200.
“Salesforce has become the trusted vendor for large enterprises in their digital transformation and modernization journeys,” Zukin said. “With the company guiding to 20%+ revenue growth over the next 4 years (through FY24) and underscoring that this long-term outlook is not predicated on future M&A, the company is bullish on its organic growth prospects.”
In its last earnings report in December, Salesforce topped analyst estimates for the quarter but forecast an outlook that was a little below the consensus at the time.
Of the 43 analysts who cover Salesforce, 40 have buy or outperform ratings and three have hold ratings, with an average price target of $191.08.
Another cloud-based stock rallying Monday was cybersecurity company CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/212513426/composite CRWD +4.20% . Shares surged 8.6% to close at $55.11 after touching an intraday high of $56.17. On Friday, Ken Griffin’s hedge fund Citadel Advisors reported a 4.9% stake in CrowdStrike, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing .
Helping that bump was a renewed interest in cybersecurity following Iran’s vow of retaliation for last week’s U.S. airstrike that killed its top general Qassem Soleimani. Iranian hackers have reportedly been stepping attacks up against the U.S. since this past summer.
FireEye Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204730283/composite FEYE -2.42% shares rose 2.2% to close at $17.59. The company’s chief executive, Kevin Mandia, has often cited Iran as a major cybersecurity threat against U.S. interests.
The ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF /zigman2/quotes/207892345/composite HACK -0.16% rose 1.2% Monday, with shares of Proofpoint Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207816916/composite PFPT -1.36% , Zscaler Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203585803/composite ZS -1.17% , Okta Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210420951/composite OKTA -1.50% , Rapid7 Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203905856/composite RPD +1.00% and Palo Alto Networks Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207599953/composite PANW +0.51% outperforming the benchmark.