Salesforce.com Inc (NYSE: CRM) has had the worst day since COVID-19 started its relentless march across the globe due to disappointing guidance. Despite profit and revenue for the reported quarter exceeding expectations, its shares dropped 12% whereas the time the stock had its worst day was March 16th, 2020, when the stock plummeted 16%.
What was largely ignored by the market was the fact that Salesforce produced big earnings beat with the help of Slack Technologies Inc. Fiscal third profit amounted to $468 million or 47 cents per share. Adjusted earnings amounted to $1.27 per share which is well ahead of estimates but below last year’s comparable quarter. Revenue amounted to $6.86 billion.
Disappointing Q4 Guidance
Earnings per share for the December quarter are expected to be in the range between 72 and 73 cents, behind the 81-cent average estimate by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. While profit missed expectations, Salesforce raised its guidance for revenue to the range between $7.22 billion and $7.23 billion, which is in line with estimates. Revenue is expected to increase 24% helped by $285 million from Slack’s sales.
Atlantic Equities analyst believes that the forecast is a reflection of “management conservatism” as Chief Financial Officer Amy Weaver did warn of headwinds to adjusted earnings, along with rising costs that will eat into profits. Management’s guidance continues to incorporate expense seasonality in the undergoing quarter. Increased costs are due to appear in various ways, including investments in the workforce and growth opportunities, along with travel and expense expectations that are going to cause a quarter-over-quarter decline in operating margin.
Just like when it reported its first and second-quarter results, Salesforce again raised its full-year expectations. Full-year revenue is expected to be in the range between $26.39 billion and $26.4 billion with adjusted earnings being in the range between $4.68 to $4.69 a share, up from prior projections of $4.36 to $4.38 a share on sales of $26.25 billion to $26.35 billion.
The company announced the promotion of Bret Taylor, president, and COO, to co-CEO. Taylor, who was heavily involved in the acquisition of Slack, will be joining Marc Benioff at the helm. On Monday, Taylor was also announced as the new board chairman of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) whose CEO, Jack Dorsey, will be replaced by CTO Parag Agrawal. Salesforce also announced that Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM) CEO Laura Alber and former United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) CEO Oscar Munoz will be joining the company’s board. Alber’s appointment took effect immediately, while Munoz will be taking his seat at the beginning of next year.
Better-Than-Expected Q3 Overshadowed by Omicron
During its September Dreamforce conference, Salesforce showed off how it plans to integrate Slack with other large acquisitions, such as MuleSoft and Tableau, as well as its different verticals focused on specific industries, giving the company plenty of room to room. These prospects indeed gave the company’s shares a boost around Dreamforce time but they have fallen back in recent weeks after hitting record highs in early November.
All in all, better-than-expected third-quarter results were overshadowed by disappointing earnings guidance amid growing concerns surrounding the heavily mutated Covid variant. on Wednesday, the US confirmed its first case in California.
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