With the post-State of the Union address market presenting jitters, contrarian investors enjoy potential discounted opportunities, particularly among cybersecurity stocks to buy. While the benchmark First Trust NASDAQ Cybersecurity ETF (NASDAQ:CIBR) may have gained roughly 9% in the new year, it declined half-a-percent in the trailing five sessions. Also, in the trailing year, it’s down about 13%.

Nevertheless, the red ink presents an intriguing case for cybersecurity stocks to buy. Fundamentally, demand for the underlying sector will only rise higher. According to data from SonicWall, in 2021, ransomware attacks increased by 105% from the previous year. As well, encrypted threats jumped by 167%. More than likely, we’ll see similar figures for 2022, if not higher.

Plus, the business model of cybersecurity makes perfect sense. For instance, the average cost of malware-related attacks pings at $1.4 million. However, for major enterprises, the figure can soar considerably. Therefore, protection begins to pay off rather quickly, boding well for the below cybersecurity stocks to buy.

FTNT Fortinet $58.25
AKAM Akamai $85.74
ZS Zscaler $140.36
S SentinelOne $16.04
PANW Palo Alto $166.58
GEN Gen Digital $21.40
CRWD CrowdStrike $114.62

Fortinet (FTNT)

An image of the word cybersecurity overlaid over a pixelated background, images of locks and shields and virus icons surrounding it

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One of the top names among cybersecurity stocks to buy, Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT) develops and sells cybersecurity solutions, such as physical firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion prevention systems and endpoint security components. So far this year, FTNT skyrocketed to the tune of 23%. However, shares still represent a relative discount. During the trailing year, FTNT dipped about 10% of equity value.

Financially, the company enjoys a stable balance sheet. In particular, its Altman Z-Score pings at 5.06, reflecting low bankruptcy risk. Operationally, its three-year revenue growth rate stands at 24.5%, outpacing nearly 81% of its peers. Also, its free cash flow (FCF) growth rate during the same period is 28.9%, beating out over 69% of rivals.

Turning to Wall Street, analysts peg FTNT as a consensus moderate buy. Most recently, Morgan Stanley reiterated its “buy” rating, forecasting a $70 price target. On average, experts believe FTNT will climb to $67.29. If so, this would imply upside potential of 12.83%.

Akamai (AKAM)

A close-up shot of fingers over a keyboard with blue and white text overlaid.

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A content delivery network, Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM) provides web and internet security services. Specifically, Akamai implements distributed denial of service (DDoS) mitigation and other security services in its edge server platform, making it one of the top cybersecurity stocks to buy. Still, Wall Street doesn’t see it that way (yet). In the trailing year, AKAM lost over 25% of equity value.

Still, investors ignore AKAM at the potential risk of incurring an opportunity cost. Per Gurufocus.com, the market prices AKAM at a forward multiple of 14.42. As a discount to earnings, Akamai ranks better than 76.81% of the competition. Also, AKAM trades hands at 15.83-times FCF. In contrast, the sector median stands at 23.61 times.

Currently, covering analysts peg AKAM as a consensus moderate buy. Among the most bullish analysts is Cowen, which features a “buy” rating on Akamai. As well, it anticipates a price target of $137. On average, the price forecast is $99.38, implying over 15% upside potential.

Zscaler (ZS)

internet security and data protection concept, blockchain and cybersecurity

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A cloud security firm, Zscaler (NASDAQ:ZS) is one of the best-performing cybersecurity stocks to buy this year. Specializing in cloud migration services, Zscaler managed to gain nearly 25% of equity value in 2023 thus far. However, the company has a long ways to climb. In the trailing year, ZS lost a staggering 51%.

Still, this might encourage contrarian speculators to bid up ZS on the implied discount. According to Gurufocus.com’s proprietary calculations for fair market value (FMV), ZS rates as a significantly undervalued investment. Objectively, the company performs well in the top-line operational segment. Its three-year revenue growth rate stands at 46.7%, beating out nearly 93% of its sector rivals. Also, its FCF growth rate during the same period pings at 93.7%.

Presently, Wall Street analysts assess Zscaler as a consensus moderate buy. Recently, BMO Capital reiterated its “buy” rating with a $145 price target. On average, experts believe ZS will rise to $166.96. If so, this target implies upside potential of over 21%. Thus, it’s worth consideration for cybersecurity stocks to buy for gamblers.

SentinelOne (S)

A man sitting in front of a computer

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Headquartered in Mountain View, California, SentinelOne (NYSE:S) uses machine learning for monitoring personal computers, Internet of Things devices, and cloud workloads. From a fundamental view, SentinelOne ranks among the top cybersecurity stocks to buy. However, the market doesn’t quite believe that. While S stock gained 8% this year, in the trailing 365 days, it hemorrhaged more than 66%.

Again, it’s an ugly loss but it could attract market speculators. Financially, the company could use some work – no one should be under any illusions. For instance, shares trade hands at 12-times sales. In the context of a value proposition to revenue, SentinelOne ranks worse than nearly 89% of its peers. However, the company enjoys a solid balance sheet. In particular, its cash-to-debt ratio stands at 25.31 times, above almost 73% of the industry.

Currently, Wall Street analysts peg S stock as a consensus moderate buy. Most recently, JPMorgan Chase weighed in, initiating a “buy” rating with a price target of $18. On average, the consensus price target stands at $19.63, implying nearly 25% upside potential. If so, S ranks among the top cybersecurity stocks to buy.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW)

A person holding a tablet with a key lock hologram floating above it. Represents cybersecurity stocks.

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One of the most-referenced cybersecurity stocks to buy, Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW) specializes in advanced firewalls and cloud-based offerings that extend those firewalls to cover other aspects of security. To be sure, it’s a leading performer this year, gaining 20% of equity value. However, in the trailing year, shares dipped around 7%.

Still, that might get speculators that were sitting on the sidelines to reconsider PANW stock. In fairness, Palo Alto doesn’t enjoy the most compelling financials. For instance, Gurufocus.com rates PANW as fairly valued. As well, the underlying enterprise could use some shoring up of its balance sheet.That aside, the company’s three-year revenue growth rate stands at 22.1%. This beats out 78% of the competition. Also, it enjoys a solid gross margin of 69%, ranking better than nearly 76% of peers.

Turning to Wall Street, analyst peg PANW as a consensus strong buy. Most recently, BMO Capital reiterated its “buy” rating with a $220 price target. On average, the forecast calls for a price of $210.46. This would imply upside potential of nearly 27%.

Gen Digital (GEN)

A digital illustration of a hacker in a blue sweatshirt.

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A multinational software firm, Gen Digital (NASDAQ:GEN) provides cybersecurity software and services. With the dramatic rise in cyberattacks, GEN should be one of the top players among cybersecurity stocks to buy. However, it’s down almost a percent so far this year. And in the past 365 days, GEN dropped more than 30% of equity value.

According to Gurufocus.com’s proprietary FMV calculations, GEN rates as a modestly undervalued investment. Objectively, the market prices GEN at a forward multiple of 10.08. As a discount to earnings, Gen Digital ranks better than 91.77% of the industry. On the bottom line, the company’s net margin stands at 17.83%, above over 89% of its peers.

Currently, Wall Street analysts peg GEN as a consensus moderate buy. Most recently, RBC Capital reiterated its “hold” position on Gen Digital. However, its price target stands at $26, representing 21% upside potential. Overall, the consensus price target is $27.50, implying upside potential of 28%.

CrowdStrike (CRWD)

a business man pressing a button with an open lock on it that's connected to a symbol of a cloud and various security related icons

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Another popular name among cybersecurity stocks to buy, CrowdStrike (NASDAQ:CRWD) provides cloud workload and endpoint security, threat intelligence and cyberattack response services. Because of exceptional relevancies, CRWD managed to gain nearly 11% of equity value. However, in the trailing year, shares eroded almost 39%.

Per Gurufocus.com’s FMV calculations, CrowdStrike represents a significantly undervalued investment. From an objective view, that might be questionable. Nevertheless, the company enjoys certain fiscal attributes. In particular, its three-year revenue growth rate stands at 63.6%, outpacing 95% of its rivals. Also, while net margin is negative, its gross margin hits 73.55%, above over 80% of the competition.

Notably, among 36 covering analysts, CrowdStrike commands a strong buy consensus rating. Only four experts peg CRWD as a hold. Significantly, no one considers CrowdStrike a sell. Looking forward, the consensus price target pings at $160.85, implying upside potential of 40.5%. Therefore, CRWD deserves careful consideration for cybersecurity stocks to buy.

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.

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