Salesforce Boosts Outlook After Topping 1st-Quarter Expectations

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A Salesforce sign is seen during the company's annual Dreamforce event, in San Francisco, California November 18, 2013. Inc is due to report fiscal third-quarter results after the market's close and the options market is implying about ... a 8.5 percent one-day move for shares in either direction, according to REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS LOGO) - RTX15J6M (Reuters) Inc. lifted its forecast for the year on the heels of a stronger-than-expected to start to its fiscal year. 

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Shares in the company gained 5.6% in after hours trading Wednesday. The stock had risen 7% this year through Wednesday's close. 

The San Francisco-based company, a pioneer in cloud computing, supplies software that helps salespeople keep track of their customers. Its results are considered a bellwether for the slice of the cloud-computing industry known as software as a service, a highflying sector that offers access to software applications over the Internet. 

For the year, Salesforce expects to earn $1 to $1.02 in adjusted per-share earnings, up from an earlier range of 99 cents to a dollar. The company projects 22% to 23% revenue growth from a year earlier, to a range of $8.16 billion to $8.20 billion. In February, Salesforce said it expected revenue to climb 21% to 22%. 

The guidance boost came after the company topped analysts' expectations for the first three months of its fiscal year. The company reported 24 cents in adjusted per-share profit, a penny above estimates, on $1.92 billion in sales. Analysts anticipated $1.89 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters. Net income rose to $38.8 million from $4.1 million a year earlier, and per-share earnings rose to 6 cents from a penny. 

Chief Operating Officer Keith Block said Salesforce drove larger and more strategic transactions during the period, and the company logged 26% growth in subscription and support revenue. 

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Deferred revenue jumped 31% to $4.01 billion, while unbilled deferred revenue -- representing business that is contracted but not yet billed -- rose 27% to end the quarter at $7.6 billion.