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Salesforce Jumps After CEO Benioff Provides Strong Guidance

Ticker Symbol: CRM

Salesforce shares are up 13% in morning trading after the company raised its annual profit guidance in its earnings release. Salesforce is the largest cloud-based provider of customer management software, and co-Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff said that the demand environment for the company’s products remained robust.

Furthermore, Salesforce said it would have to absorb $600 million in foreign exchange translation losses for the fiscal year since the company first gave fiscal year guidance in November.

The company expects adjusted full-year earnings to be between $4.74 and $4.76 per share, 12¢ higher than the company’s previous guidance. Revenue for the year should be around $31.8 billion, lower than the previous guidance of $32 billion.

Wall Street was expecting earnings of $4.68 a share, while revenue was expected to come in at around $32.08 billion. The company provided commentary that the lowered revenue forecast was due purely because of the foreign exchange issues arising from the U.S. dollar, and not demand or pricing related concerns.

For the fiscal first quarter, the company reported an adjusted earnings per share of 98¢ versus the average analyst estimate of 95¢. Revenue was up 24% year over year, to $7.41 billion, against the $7.38 billion expected. Subscription and support sales, the main revenue driver at the company, came in at $6.86 billion versus the analysts view of $6.87 billion.

Professional services beat handily, posting revenue of $555 million against an estimate of $513.4 million. The company said that on a constant currency basis, sales were up 26%, higher than the 24% foreign exchange adjusted figure and the 25% expected by analysts.

The company also said that it would be more measured and deliberate in hiring practices going forward, focusing on customer success roles. The company said full-time employees at the company rose 30% from a year earlier to almost 78 thousand.

Chief Financial Officer Amy Weaver said she expects margins to remain strong throughout the course of the year. Operating margin for the first quarter was 17.6%. Lastly, the company said that Slack, its blockbuster acquisition from last year, continues to outperform internal expectations.

Salesforce continues producing near or above 20% revenue growth consistently. Growth in new business signings, strong top-line numbers from Slack and broad-based demand for the company’s product suite are evidence that enterprises are still spending on customer management software through the current challenging environment.

While the strong U.S. dollar dented the company’s financial performance, steady margins and thoughtful spending on research and development could buffer earnings on a forward-looking basis.

This content is provided for general information purposes only and is not to be taken as investment advice nor as a recommendation for any security, investment strategy or investment account.