Today: Silicon Valley cloud security company Barracuda Networks raises more than $74 million in initial public offering and rises in Wall Street debut, finding success running the same path Twitter will follow 24 hours later. Also: Tesla plummets after earnings report, but Dow Jones hits a record.

The Lead: A day ahead of Twitter, Barracuda finds IPO success

While Wall Street and Silicon Valley kept their eyes trained on a different initial public offering, a Campbell company in a hot market sector slipped onto the public markets Wednesday and walked away with millions of dollars and a rising valuation.

Barracuda Networks sold more than 4 million shares at $18 apiece, the low end of its $18-to-$21 range, to raise $74.5 million at a valuation just shy of $1 billion before arriving on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning. Once traders got their hands on Barracuda stock, shares reached the high end of the company's IPO range and stayed there, trading in a range from $20.78 to $23.80 before closing at $21.55, 19.7 percent higher than the IPO price.

The security company ran the same route San Francisco microblogging service Twitter was expected to traverse 24 hours later: Announcing a price for IPO shares, ringing the bell to begin trading on the NYSE in the morning, then watching the market's demand play with the stock's price.

"We're glad Twitter let us go out in front of them," Barracuda CEO and President William "BJ" Jenkins said in a telephone interview Monday, "that was nice for us."

Barracuda President and CEO William Jenkins, right, joins applause as his company’s stock begins trading during its IPO on the floor of the New York
Barracuda President and CEO William Jenkins, right, joins applause as his company's stock begins trading during its IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday Nov. 6, 2013. Barracuda provides cloud-connected security and storage solutions. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) ( Richard Drew )

While Twitter receives a great deal more attention because it is a consumer service familiar to millions of Americans, Barracuda operates in a tech sector that has many more comparable companies that have exercised successful IPOs and found strong demand on Wall Street. Facebook is the only large social network comparable to Twitter to sell initial shares in the past two years, but a host of Barracuda's potential rivals have completed the IPO obstacle course, including fellow Silicon Valley companies like Qualys, FireEye, Palo Alto Networks and ProofPoint.

With cloud computing -- also known as software as a service, or SaaS -- rapidly changing the way businesses store their important data, companies such as Barracuda have found overwhelming need for services that help secure and retain such information.

"More threats come every day for customers of all sizes, so the landscape is constantly changing and evolving, so technology has to evolve to meet those threats," Jenkins said Wednesday.

Their stock has seen similarly strong demand; for instance, Milpitas-based FireEye closed Wednesday at $39.89, slightly shy of double the $20 IPO price commanded less than two months ago.

"Cybersecurity has really gone to the top of the IT priority list and vendors, both public and private, are going to benefit over the coming years from that demand," FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives told Reuters.

Barracuda has not been reliably profitable thus far, after a decade in the industry: The company produced less than $500,000 in profit on revenues of $160.9 million in its 2011 fiscal year, but dropped to a loss of $9.2 million on revenues of $198.9 million in 2012, and lost $4.6 million on revenues of $114.1 million in the first six months of its 2013 fiscal year. Jenkins noted the company's free cash flow was enviable, and said that the company planned to return to profitability soon.

Barracuda, which trades under the ticker symbol CUDA, will receive all the proceeds from its stock sale, as early investors and executives chose not to sell shares. In fact, some board members planned to purchase additional shares in the company's offering. The company's underwriters had access to an additional 621,000 shares if demand dictates.

Barracuda was not alone in its Wall Street debut Wednesday: Israeli Web company Wix and Massachusetts biotechnology company Karyopharm also debuted Wednesday in what was expected to be a very busy IPO week beyond Thursday's Twitter pyrotechnics.

SV150 market report: Dow hits record while Tesla hits a wall

The Dow Jones pushed to another record high Wednesday, but technology stocks struggled despite a recent recommendation from Deutsche Bank to target the tech sector because of an uptick in corporate IT spending. Silicon Valley stocks followed the tech-heavy Nasdaq in a slight dip Wednesday, anchored by a downhill post-earnings drive from Tesla Motors (TSLA).

Tesla dropped 14.5 percent to $151.16 as analysts came down on the stock following Tuesday's quarterly earnings report, which showed that the Palo Alto electric car maker is struggling to meet global demand for its Model S. Tesla's decline was its worst day on Wall Street in two years, but negativity about its earnings report was not unanimous. Some analysts who cut their price targets kept them higher than Tesla's current price, including Wedbush Securities analyst Craig Irwin, who cut his price target from $240 to $205 and said, "We see strong positives in Tesla's credible path." Jefferies analyst Elaine Kwei also has a price target of more than $200, and wrote, "With a technology advantage, desirable and differentiated products, and proven execution, we think we're only scratching the surface of things to come" from Tesla.

Apple (AAPL) followed Tesla with a 0.9 percent decline to $520.92, as the Cupertino company gave in to angry users and returned some aspects of iWork to the updated software. Analysts continued to debate the present and future of Apple, with Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White predicted that Apple shattered records in October and Asymco founder Horace Dediu counting down the years Apple has left. Facebook dropped 2 percent to $49.12 while fiddling with its iconic "Like" button, Pandora fell 1.8 percent to $27.37 after Tuesday's big gain, and Yelp descended 6.4 percent to $66.61.

Some of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies balanced those losses, however. Cisco (CSCO) gained 0.9 percent after officially taking the wraps off its Ensieme initiative to answer the rise of software-defined networking, committing to spending up to $863 million to buy out the remainder of its spinoff. eBay (EBAY) gained 4.3 percent to $53.28, Oracle (ORCL) moved 1.7 percent higher to $34.07, and Intel (INTC) gained 0.9 percent to $24.25 while creating a new division dedicated to the "Internet of Things." Google (GOOG) increased 0.1 percent to $1,022.75 as it finally gave some (slight) insight into what it is building on a barge floating off Treasure Island.

Up: eBay, Symantec, Oracle, VMware, Cisco, Intel, Applied Materials, Juniper, Electronic Arts (ERTS), Nvdia, Intuit (INTU), Hewlett-Packard

Down: Tesla, Yelp, SolarCity, SunPower (SPWRA), Gilead, Zynga, Facebook, Pandora, Netflix (NFLX), LinkedIn, SanDisk, Apple, Salesforce

The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Down 1.66, or 0.12 percent, to 1,403.82

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 7.91, or 0.2 percent, to 3,931.95

The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 128.66, or 0.82 percent, to 15,746.88

And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 7.52, or 0.43 percent, to 1,770.49

Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.