The slowing global economy hasn’t been an issue for Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), as the company’s latest quarterly report shows. And Wall Street is certainly encouraged. So far in today’s trading, the shares are up about 8%.
In the Q3, Salesforce’s revenues soared by 35% to $788.4 million, and adjusted net income came to 33 cents a share. The Street was looking for revenues of $776.6 million and earnings of 32 cents a share.
Going forward, Salesforce says the growth momentum will continue. For Q4, the company is looking for revenues of $825 million to $830 million, which compares to the consensus of $829.9 million.
Why all the growth? Salesforce.com has been aggressive with acquisitions, especially in emerging social marketing. The company believes it can be the Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) of the enterprise market.
True, the deals have been pricey, but the company has the advantage of a highly valued stock. Besides, Salesforce has been able to leverage its customer base. Just look at the $326 million acquisition of Radian6, which provides analytics for social marketing campaigns. It’s expected to post more than $100 million in revenues for 2013.
However, Salesforce will still have to fend off competitors. These include not only scrappy startups but also mega-operators like Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), SAP (NYSE:SAP) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).
But for investors, Salesforce has been a solid play for 2012, with the stock gaining an impressive 55%. Yet the stock price has a resistance level of about $155 or so. Then again, it seems unlikely that Salesforce will be able to accelerate its growth rate.
There are also risks of the M&A program, which could lead to integration troubles. Besides, the company’s valuation is already at nosebleed levels, with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 79.
So, while Salesforce will likely remain the leader of the cloud revolution, it could be tough for investors to wring out more gains, especially with the stock back again at its resistance level.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.