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solzberg in Gainers & Losers,

Salesforce' shares ready to rebound

I remain upbeat about the shares of Salesforce.com (CRM), a US-based provider of enterprise cloud computing solutions. Recently, the company posted solid financials for its fiscal 2017 second quarter. Revenues increased 24.6% y-o-y to $2.04 bn and slightly exceeded consensus estimate of $2.02 bn. The improvement was primarily attributable to rapid adoption of the company’s cloud-based solutions. Also, higher demand for the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud platform, part of the Salesforce1 Customer Platform, drove the y-o-y upside in revenues. Geographically, the company witnessed revenue growth of 24%, 32% and 29% in the Americas, Europe and Asia, respectively. Adjusted operating income (including stock-based compensation but excluding amortization of acquisition-related intangibles) rose 36% to $81.2 mn driven by a higher revenue base and a drop in operating expenses as a percentage of revenues, and operating margin improved 40 basis points to 4%. Non-GAAP earnings per share grew 26% to 24 cents topping expectations by 2 cents.

However, despite reporting strong FQ2 results, Salesforce disappointed investors by lowering its full fiscal year 2017 EPS guidance, noting intensifying competition from such giants as International Business Machines, Oracle, SAP. Management now projects FY2017 non-GAAP earnings to come between 93-95 cents, down from the earlier guidance of $1.00-1.02. But on the bright side, Salesforce raised its full-year sales forecast to $8.275-8.325 bn from the previous projection of $8.16-8.20 bn, which represents a 24-25% y-o-y increase.

In my opinion, investors’ negative reaction on weaker EPS guidance was excessive, and Salesforce remains well positioned in the industry. Overall, the company’s diverse cloud offerings and considerable spending on digital marketing remain as catalysts. Moreover, strategic acquisitions and the resultant synergies are expected to benefit over the long run.

I believe a downtrend in Salesforce’s shares in close to a reversal, and the stock will rebound in short term, with medium-term target at $90.