Salesforce Stock: Can the Post-Earnings Rally Continue?

Stock Market

Shares of customer relationship management software play Salesforce (CRM) were sharply higher (almost 10%) on Wednesday following some sensational quarterly earnings results.

Salesforce stock had nearly been cut in half from peak to trough, marking one of the worst flops for any component within the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). Though the single-day rally was remarkable on a down day for the rest of the market, the cloud behemoth still has plenty of room to run if it’s to see its highs again.

On TipRanks, CRM receives a Smart Score rating of 8 out of 10, indicating that there is a high chance for the stock to outperform the broader market.

Undoubtedly, investors were nervous heading into the quarterly reveal. When co-CEO Marc Benioff pulled off an incredible beat, you could just feel the sigh of relief from shareholders.

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Many expect a recession could kick in as soon as early-2023. Though Salesforce is looking to be more “measured” when it comes to hiring, there was nothing to worry about regarding the quarterly numbers, which were spectacular.

Marc Benioff Thinks His Business is Recession “Resilient”

In response to the quarterly beat, Benioff stated that his firm was recession “resilient,” thanks to the ongoing digital transformation. Indeed, Salesforce is one of the top ways to play such a transformation, and it’s quite remarkable that Benioff expects such trends to offset potential recessionary headwinds.

With early evidence of a weakening consumer, the high-quality enterprise software firms like Salesforce could prove most robust as market waters get rougher. Enterprise spending looks more resilient, with corporate beasts like Microsoft (MSFT) recently announcing its intent to nearly double its salary budget to retain employees amid high inflation.

Indeed, the enterprise budget seems far less stressed than your average consumer. When you consider the value that Salesforce’s suite produces, it shouldn’t be a mystery why Benioff views his company as “resilient” in the face of such ugly economic storm clouds. I think he’s right in that Salesforce will really have a chance to flex its muscles as economic conditions begin to show signs of subtle stress.

The post-earnings rally was warranted, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this clears CRM stock’s runway for the $200 per-share mark. I’m a huge fan of results and Benioff’s upbeat commentary and remain as bullish as ever on the stock.

Salesforce’s Quarter Really Was That Good

CRM stock has taken a beating in the months heading into the first quarter of Fiscal 2023. When Benioff unveiled better-than-feared (and better-than-expected) results, it was clear that the cloud giant was not ready to pull the brakes despite the macro picture. With demand expected to stay strong, the company looks poised to continue its hot growth streak.

When factoring in the negative currency movements, the company’s growth is even more impressive.

First-quarter revenue was up 24% year over year, or 26% on a constant-currency basis. That’s impressive growth, given how rocky this earnings season has been. Powering the top-line beat was broad strength across the board, with Sales Cloud enjoying 20% growth year-over-year on a constant-currency basis.

Management stated that Slack is ahead of expectations, an encouraging sign, given the long-term growth from integrating the popular workplace messaging platform. Though Salesforce still has a lot of work to do to turn Slack into a tool that can better upsell customers across its different cloud offerings, the firm looks to be ahead of schedule, as usual.

With tech valuations falling considerably in recent months, Salesforce may wish to pursue opportunities on the M&A front.

Indeed, the company doesn’t have the same liquidity as it used to. Still, it’s tough to pass up on some of the bargains that could further strengthen the firm’s software suite. Salesforce may wish to look at potential opportunities to bolster its Slack platform.

Recently, Salesforce acquired startup Troops.ai. The under-the-radar deal could enrich the Slack experience with the inclusion of AI-leveraging bots. Though the scale of the deal is much smaller than the elephants Salesforce acquired in the past, I still view the deal as something that could help take Slack to the next level.

Wall Street’s Take

Turning to Wall Street, CRM stock comes in as a Strong Buy. Out of 33 analyst ratings, there are 29 Buys and four Hold recommendations.

The average Salesforce price target is $241.03, implying upside potential of 27.9%. Analyst price targets range from a low of $175.00 per share to a high of $332.00 per share.

The Bottom Line on Salesforce Stock

Salesforce pulled it off again when it mattered most. The company looks poised to fire on all cylinders, even as the economy takes a step backward. At just 7.1 times sales, CRM stock looks like a magnificent bargain that’s been unfairly dragged lower as a part of a broader tech sell-off.

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