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CyberArk Earnings, Q1 Outlook Hack Views

CyberArk Software blew out fourth-quarter earnings views and offered bullish guidance late Thursday as cybersecurity stocks stayed on a roll.

The Israeli security software firm, which has its U.S. headquarters in Newton, Mass., earned 21 cents a share excluding items, up 162% vs. a year earlier. Revenue rose 81% to $36.3 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected adjusted EPS of 5 cents on $26.93 million in sales.

CyberArk (CYBR) sees Q1 adjusted EPS of 4-6 cents on revenue of $25.5 million to $26.5 million. Analysts had modeled an 8-cent loss on $22.75 million in revenue.

The stock spiked 17.3% to 53.60 after hours, which would be well above its Nov. 24 peak of 47.01. It closed 9.3% higher at 45.69, up more than 23% so far this week.

CyberArk focuses on protecting organizations from undetected attacks that have already made their way inside the network perimeter. Its products and services aim to enable customers to detect attacks faster by pinpointing malicious activity seeking out privileged accounts.

CEO Udi Mokady said in a conference call with analysts Thursday that CyberArk is garnering a wide variety of new customers.

"We signed a large multinational chain with several thousand stores, a regional 150-store liquor retailer, a small private New England college with a few thousand students and a large and statewide university system with over 80,000 students," he said. "In government, we added one of the ten largest states, and a government-owned television station in Asia, along with legal and financial advisory services and a mining company with operations from Alaska to Australia.

Customers are drawn to CyberArk's approach, said William Blair analyst Jonathan Ho.

"It's highly relevant to the current cybersecurity threat landscape, with breaches at JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Home Depot (HD) and Target (TGT) directly targeting privileged administrative accounts to expand the scope of breaches," Ho said.

CyberArk shot up 87% in its Sept. 29 debut after its IPO priced at 16 a share.

President Obama on Friday is slated to head a "cybersecurity summit" at Stanford University. Top FBI, Homeland Security and Secret Service officials will join executives from tech companies and other industries to discuss strategies to combat increasingly sophisticated breaches.

Cybersecurity has taken on more urgency in recent months after high-profile breaches at Anthem (ATHM), Sony (SNE) and elsewhere. Such attacks are expected to fuel higher cybersecurity spending.

The White House said Tuesday it is creating the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, which will integrate intelligence from various government agencies and help sort through data about cyberthreats.

VeriSign (VRSN) said in a Thursday report that cyberattacks' severity and frequency are likely to increase in 2015.

FireEye (FEYE) late Wednesday reported better-than-expected Q4 results. Shares jumped 11% on Thursday to 39.63, hitting their best level in more than 7 months.

Qualys (QLYS) late Monday reported Q4 revenue and earnings that topped views. It also gave bullish guidance. Shares shot up 14.9% to a new high on Tuesday.