Salesforce Earnings Rise as Margins Grow
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Salesforce posted higher first-quarter profit as margins came in ahead of the company’s expectations, a sign that cuts from its nascent turnaround plan are taking hold. The quarterly earnings and revenue topped Wall Street expectations. The business-software provider also boosted its earnings outlook and margin targets for the year, while backing revenue guidance. Chief Executive Marc Benioff said the results showcased its new emphasis on cost management, which came after pressure from shareholders earlier this year. “We continue to scrutinize every dollar investment, every resource, and every spend,” Benioff said on a call with investors. Shares fell 3.3% in after-hours trading to $216. For the quarter ended April 30, Salesforce logged net income of $199 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with a profit of $28 million, or 3 cents a share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were $1.69 a share, above analysts’ estimates of $1.61, according to FactSet. Revenue rose to $8.25 billion from $7.41 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $8.18 billion.
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Despite spending much of the day's trading session in positive territory, the Swiss market ended on a weak note on Wednesday as stocks fell in late afternoon trade. Concerns about growth and prospects of further interest rate hikes weighed on the market. Investors also awaited the vote on U.S. debt ceiling bill, due later in the day. The benchmark SMI ended with a loss of 64.56 points or 0.57% at 11,217.89. The index, which climbed to 11,348.23 around late morning, fell to a low of 11,194.94 in the final hour. Richemont declined nearly 4%. Credit Suisse lost 2.56% and UBS Group ended nearly 2% down. Geberit, ABB, Swiss Life Holding, Sonova, Givaudan, Logitech and Swiss Re ended lower by 0.8 to 1.4%. Swisscom, Lonza Group, Holcim and Novartis posted modest gains. In the Mid Price Index, DocMorris and Swatch Group both shed about 5.25%. Georg Fischer ended 3.07% down, while Dufry, Adecco, SIG Combibloc and Tecan Group lost 2.4 to 3.1%. Baloise Holding, Schindler Ps, Straumann Holding, Clariant, Schindler Holding and Kuehne & Nagel also ended notably lower. Lindt & Spruengli N declined 2.6%. Swiss Prime Site and Temenos Group ended lower by about 1.4% and 1.3%, respectively.
European stocks tumbled on Wednesday as concerns about economic slowdown following disappointing data out of China, and prospects of further interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and other leading central banks rendered the mood bearish. The pan European Stoxx 600 declined 1.07%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 ended 1.01% down, Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 both lost about 1.55%, while Switzerland's SMI ended lower by 0.57%. In the UK market, Prudential and Ocado Group lost 6.1% and 5.84%, Entain declined 4% after the company revealed it expects to be hit by a large fine as part of an investigation by Britain's tax authority over historic corporate misconduct involving former third-party suppliers. ABRDN, Baclays, BP, WPP, Shell, Aviva, Frasers Group, Mondi, Burberry Group, Lloyds Banking Group, Smurfit Kappa Group, Barratt Developments and Natwest Group lost 2 to 3%. B&M European Value Retail shares surged more than 8% after the discount retailer said it expects current adjusted core earnings to be higher in 2024. Endevaour Mining climbed 5.8%. Sage Group, Astrazeneca, Auto Trader Group and Relx gained 1 to 2%. In Paris, Renault, Essilor, Stellantis, Michelin, Societe Generale, Kering, Saint Gobain, Hermes International, LVMH, Unibail Rodamco, BNP Paribas and ArcelorMittal lost 2 to 3.1%. Capgemini rallied nearly 7%. Veolia, Dassault Systemes and Sanofi posted moderate gains. In the German market, Covestro and Continental lost about 4.8% and 4.7%, respectively. Allianz, BASF, Siemens Energy, Zalando, Adidas, Bayer, Commerzbank, Fresenius, BMW, Siemens, Mercedes-Benz and Brenntag ended lower by 2 to 4%. In European economic news, Germany's import prices declined at the fastest pace since 2009, falling by 7% on a yearly basis in April, following a 3.8% drop in March, data from Destatis showed. Germany's unemployment increased less than expected in May despite the economy entering a technical recession in the face of high inflation and tight monetary policy.
Major stock indexes fell Wednesday as economic concerns and fears of a Federal Reserve rate increase remained on investors' minds. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index both retreated 0.6%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.4% lower. U.S. Labor Department data showed an increase in job openings in April, reversing three months of declines and renewing investor concerns that the Fed isn't finished lifting interest rates. Traders in interest rate futures have in recent days swung between pricing in a pause from the Fed or an additional rate hike at its coming June meeting. They saw a greater than 60% chance of a rate increase after the jobs data Wednesday morning, but that fell to 30% after Fed governor Philip Jefferson said later in the day the central bank could hold interest rates steady at its next meeting but still lift them afterward. Stocks rallied off their lows of the day following Jefferson's comments. Nvidia shares fell 5.7% Wednesday, ending a furious three-day rally that saw the chip maker's market capitalization briefly cross over the $1 trillion mark during Tuesday trading. Investors have been piling into Nvidia shares in a bet that its technology will be in high demand from companies that produce generative artificial intelligence like the ChatGPT platform. Nvidia rival Intel was the S&P 500's best performer Wednesday after its chief financial officer said Intel is on pace to hit the upper end of its revenue guidance for the second quarter. The shares closed up 4.8%.
The stock markets in East Asia and Australia are mostly up on Thursday. In Tokyo, the Nikkei index gained 0.7 per cent. On the Hong Kong stock exchange, the Hang Seng Index advances 0.8 per cent. And on the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite gains 0.4 per cent. Tailwinds come from Chinese economic data.
U.S. treasury yields slid, with the yield on the 10-year note falling to 3.636% from 3.697% a day earlier.
Citi raises the Prudential target to GBP 15.39 (15.18) – Buy
JP Morgan lowers the BAT target to 2,800 (3,100) p – Neutral
UBS raises the Software AG target to EUR32 (30.05) – Neutral
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