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Salesforce target cut to $300 on growth concerns while maintaining 'strong buy' rating

EditorLina Guerrero
Published 05/30/2024, 03:05 PM
© Reuters.

On Thursday, CFRA reduced its price target on Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) shares to $300 from the previous $330, while sustaining a Strong Buy rating on the stock. The adjustment was made to reflect concerns about the company's growth prospects. Salesforce recently reported earnings per share (EPS) for the April quarter of $2.44, surpassing the consensus estimate of $2.38. This figure was a notable increase from the $1.69 reported in the same quarter the previous year.

Salesforce's revenue grew by 11%, driven by a 13% increase in subscription and support revenues. However, the July quarter's guidance indicates a deceleration in sales growth to between 7% and 8%, with the full year's growth expected to remain between 8% and 9%. This slowdown represents the slowest growth rate in the company's history, amidst a backdrop of an uncertain purchasing environment.

Despite the deceleration in sales growth, Salesforce has demonstrated strong operating margin execution, reporting a 32.1% operating margin, which is in line with consensus estimates and significantly higher than the 27.6% margin from the previous year. This performance has been a key factor in supporting the company's EPS.

CFRA has adjusted its forecast for Salesforce's EPS for the fiscal year 2025 (ending in January) to $9.90 from $9.74, and for fiscal year 2026 to $11.05 from $11.14. The firm has applied a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 27 times its calendar year 2025 EPS estimate, which is below the average of Salesforce's peers and historical figures, to arrive at the new price target.

The analyst noted that while Salesforce's artificial intelligence initiatives are expected to start showing results by late calendar year 2025 or early 2026, the company is well-positioned compared to other enterprise firms due to its access to customer data. The Data Cloud has been included in 25% of deals over $1 million. Despite concerns about Salesforce potentially seeking mergers and acquisitions for inorganic growth, CFRA views the recent weakness in Salesforce's share price as an attractive buying opportunity, especially given the stock's pre-market trading valuation under 21 times CFRA's calendar year 2025 EPS view and the anticipated free cash flow of more than $13 billion in calendar year 2025.

InvestingPro Insights

As Salesforce navigates a challenging growth environment, the company's financial health and market performance remain key areas of interest for investors. According to real-time data from InvestingPro, Salesforce boasts a robust market capitalization of $207.64 billion, highlighting its significant presence in the market. The company's P/E ratio stands at 37.91, reflecting a premium valuation compared to some of its peers. Despite a forecasted slowdown in sales growth, Salesforce has maintained a solid gross profit margin of 75.5% over the last twelve months as of Q1 2023, underscoring its efficiency in generating profit from its revenue.

InvestingPro Tips indicate that Salesforce has a perfect Piotroski Score of 9, suggesting strong financial health, and analysts predict the company will remain profitable this year. Additionally, with Salesforce trading at a high earnings multiple and recognized as a prominent player in the Software industry, investors may consider these factors when evaluating the company's long-term value. For those looking to delve deeper into Salesforce's financials and stock performance, there are 11 more InvestingPro Tips available, which can be accessed on the platform. Utilize the coupon code PRONEWS24 to receive an additional 10% off a yearly or biyearly Pro and Pro+ subscription, offering more insights to inform your investment decisions.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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