The recent stock market carnage has dominated the top story slot at most financial news outlets this month.
Pundits have thoroughly enjoyed speculating over what caused the February market swoon. So far, they’ve blamed volatility traders, rate hikes, fears of a government shutdown — all the usual suspects. But in truth, the market had simply grinded higher without a correction for too long.
We’re not surprised to see most folks swept up in the panic. After all, the talking heads on the TV told us the end of the world was approaching.
But with stocks quickly recovering and pushing back toward their highs, the crash-callers are starting to capitulate. So it’s time to turn our attention to a far more terrifying event than a run-of-the-mill market correction: the next massive data breach.
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Earlier this month, we showed you how online threats are diving much deeper than fake news and election tampering. Just last year, the Equifax breach exposed nearly half of Americans to the perils of identity theft. These events are a grim reminder of just how vulnerable our information is in the digital age.
Cybercriminals are everywhere. And they’re becoming more savvy by the day.
Individuals and corporations are scrambling to protect their most sensitive information. But as we see almost every week, they’re woefully behind the curve.
Cybercrime is growing at an alarming rate. We read about a fresh high profile hack almost every month. In fact, data breaches at U.S. businesses and other organizations jumped to more than 1,300 in 2017, MarketWatch notes.
This grim statistic is featured in what might be the scariest chart we’ve seen this year…
We reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee declared cybersecurity its most pressing concern at its annual worldwide threats hearing earlier this month. The declaration puts even more pressure on the tech world to protect to secure their devices and information, we reasoned. Now that cybersecurity concerns have moved from political sideshow to public enemy number one, we’re finally seeing some traction in our favorite cybersecurity plays.
Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW) shares jumped 7% after hours yesterday when the company topped earnings expectations and issued strong guidance.
We’ve maintained a PANW in the portfolio since June — and we suggested adding to your position back on Feb. 14th after the stock tagged our preliminary target of $160. Now that the stock is approaching $180 after hours, it has the momentum it needs to make a run at its 2015 all-time highs near $200.
Companies like PANW that are on the front lines of the cybersecurity fight are finally shaping up into the market-beating plays we thought they could be. As I’ve noted before, we’re witnessing a generational opportunity for the companies that make their money protecting our identities. If cybersecurity plays become one of the tech market’s new leaders, the industry needs to step up right now.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Reckoning.