IT services specialist Sophos Group (LSE: SOPH) has seen its share price go gangbusters in April, a positive trading statement earlier this month prompting a stampede of buying activity.
Consequently the stock has seen its market value soar 25% this month. And I believe Sophos could have much further to run.
The Oxfordshire firm advised that, thanks to “a very strong end to the fourth quarter” that it expects billings to have soared 27% during January-March at constant currencies (and excluding the recent acquisition of Invincea). Furthermore, Sophos noted that full-year billings on a comparative basis are anticipated to have risen 20% year-on-year, underlining the recent uptick in business activity.
On top of this, the tech titan said that it expects billings to have clocked in at $630m during the 12 months to March 2017 on a reported basis, up 18% year-on-year and surpassing broker expectations of $610m to $617m.
Not only does Sophos have a brilliant track record in terms of recurring revenues, but the online security specialist’s market share is growing thanks to a steady stream of brilliant business wins across the globe. Indeed, the company saw billings surge by more than 20% across all of its growth regions of Europe, North America and Asia Pacific and Japan during the first quarter.
It comes as little surprise, then, that the City believes Sophos has the capacity to put behind it recent earnings turbulence and generate fantastic earnings growth from this year onwards. Indeed, brokers have pencilled in expansion of 56% and 35% in fiscal 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Like most tech stocks, however, Sophos carries a huge premium despite these eye-popping projections, and a forward P/E multiple of 59.1 times soars above the widely-regarded value benchmark of 15 times.
Having said that, a prospective PEG reading of 1 suggests that Sophos could actually be considered something of a bargain given its near-term profits prospects.
Regardless, with Sophos delivering plenty of cash to reinvest in R&D (free cash flow also exceeded consensus during the last quarter, the firm advised), and demand for its products already heading through the roof, I reckon the security star remains a stunning selection for growth seekers.
Maintain some space
Office space specialist Workspace Group (LSE: WKP) was also the beneficiary of bubbly buying activity this month, the stock advancing 13% as growth hunters piled back in.
Indeed, the business space provider is anticipated to keep its long-running record of earnings advances rolling in the periods to March 2018 and 2019, and growth of 18% and 9% is currently predicted for these years.
Still, current forecasts leave Workspace dealing on a hefty P/E ratio of 26 times. And I consider this to be too steep given the possibility that demand for its London space could cool significantly in the months and years ahead.
Whether or not the UK’s economy actually suffers a colossal slowdown as Brexit negotiations begin with gusto during the summer, and the country eventually slips out of the European Union, I think the office provider’s share price could struggle again in the near-term should investor jitters rise again.
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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.