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JimVanMeerten (56.62)

A hackers nightmare



January 15, 2010 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: SYMC

Back when I first got out of college I was an Internal Auditor at Retail Credit Company - later renamed Equifax, Inc. Back then the company was on the cutting edge in data security, but since it was a closed system computer security was making sure no one could enter your computer room, cut off your land line connection or power source and all your back up data and programs were properly secured off site in a vault. People had to physically get into your installation to do damage.

Boy have things changed. Hackers with a $500 computer and an Internet connection in Nigeria or Romania can raise havoc to computers any where in the world. They can access not only private computers, but even the computers of companies, governments and even worse defense systems. Data and access is everywhere and lots of hackers consider it a challenge. If I can believe my spyware detection programs even the computer I use at home has 15 - 35 hacking attempts a day. Identity theft is a fear and concern of anyone who does anything on line.

Luckily we can all make a profit not only on the prevention of data theft but the fear that drives software and computer users to purchase and constantly upgrade their protection software. Symantec ( SYMC ) is at the center of this industry and provides Internet security technology in the form of anti-virus protection, Internet content and e-mail filtering, and mobile code detection technologies. Look down on your tool bar and you just might see their logo.

The company is making money and has a large Wall Street following. Analysts think the company will increase sales by 4.2% and earning per share by 7.6% next year. They estimate a 5 year annual growth in EPS of 9.23% per year. The 31 analysts presently following the stock have 21 buy recommendation with the others recommending hold and no major firms signal a sell. In the past year short interest has come down from 33 million shares to 22 million shares by year end.

The company has had price advances on 11 of the last 20 trading sessions and was also had 5 increases on the last 5 sessions. They have enjoyed a 65 day price appreciation of 21.24%. All 13 of Barchart's technical indicators signal buy for a 100% buy signal.

On other sites Wall Street Survivor readers give it a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating and the Motley Fool crowd thinks the stock will out perform the market by a vote of 461 to 94. The All Stars concur with a vote of 125 to 25. Fool's Wall Street columnist have buy stories out 19 to 1 but the lone dissenter's vote was back in 2007 -- too far back to even count.

Recommendation: Access to computer and mobile device data has never been more open and available but with that open access are open threats from hackers. Symantec is a leader in protecting your computer's data. The stock is making money and has a positive 5 year consensus to increase sales and earning. Barchart's 13 technical indicators all signal buy and other sites agree. Buy around 19 and have a protective stop loss no lower than 17.50.

Disclosure : no positions in this stock at the time of publication

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email

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