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Darktrace shares soar after sales and earnings outlook upgraded

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Cyber security group Darktrace has hiked its full-year sales and earnings outlook thanks to a near 40% surge in customers.

Shares in the firm raced 11% higher, having jumped up by 25% at one stage, as it cheered a 39.6% rise in customer numbers to 6,531 and a leap in revenues of at least 50% to around 190 million US dollars (£140 million).

It now expects revenues to grow by between 42% and 44%, up from previous guidance of 37% to 39%, while it also upped its earnings margin range.

The firm listed in April but endured a volatile start to life as a public company, with shares soon slumping after downbeat broker ratings and when a post-flotation lock-up came to an end in November.

But recent better recent trading news has helped the stock recoup lost ground, with shares trading at more than 435p a share at the time of writing, up from its 250p flotation price.

The firm said its better-than-expected performance in the six months to December 31 came after it attracted more customers and improved churn and retention.

Analysts at Peel Hunt, which had sparked the stock’s heavy falls in October by slapping a “sell” rating on Darktrace, have changed their rating to “hold”.

But Peel Hunt also cautioned that outlook increases were expected by many.

They said in a note: “Although we see these upgrades as positive, as flagged earlier, many investors were already expecting a ‘beat and raise’ strategy.

“Given the share price has now approached our target price, we pause for breath and move from sell to hold.”

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