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Salesforce (CRM) Q1 Earnings: Stock to Pull a Surprise?

salesforce.com, Inc. CRM is set to report first-quarter fiscal 2017 results on May 18. Last quarter, the company posted a negative earnings surprise of 75%.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors at Play

Last quarter, Salesforce witnessed significant year-over-year growth in both the top and bottom line. The improvement has been primarily attributed to the rapid adoption of the company’s cloud-based solutions. Also, higher demand for Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud platform, part of the Salesforce1 Customer Platform, contributed to the improvement. We expect the trend to continue in the first quarter as well.

A higher number of deal wins and geographical contributions should also boost results in the to-be-reported quarter. Overall, the company’s diverse cloud offerings and considerable spending on digital marketing remain growth catalysts. Moreover, strategic acquisitions and resultant synergies are expected to drive long-term growth.

Considering increased customer adoption and satisfactory performances, market research firm Gartner acknowledged Salesforce as the leading social CRM solution provider. We believe that the rapid adoption of the company’s platforms indicate solid growth opportunities in the expanding cloud computing space, which will, in turn, boost results in the upcoming quarter.

On the flip side, although the company is growing reasonably in the cloud market, growth prospects have been rationalized to a considerable extent due to intensifying competition from International Business Machines IBM, Oracle Corp. and SAP AG. Moreover, currency fluctuations and stepped-up investments in international expansion and data centers could hurt fiscal first-quarter results.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Salesforce will beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, currently stands at 0.00%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate of 8 cents is in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Zacks Rank: Salesforce’s Zacks Rank #3 when combined with a 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

Note that we caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing a negative estimate revisions momentum.

Stocks to Consider

Here are a couple of stocks that you may want to consider, as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

TiVo Inc. TIVO, with an Earnings ESP of +25.00% and a Zacks Rank #1.

Intuit Inc. INTU, with an Earnings ESP of +0.66% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
INTL BUS MACH (IBM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
TIVO INC (TIVO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SALESFORCE.COM (CRM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
INTUIT INC (INTU): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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