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Salesforce shares waver after earnings beat

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.

Salesforce reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations on Tuesday, and revenue that exceeded estimates. But its forward guidance for next quarter was slightly lighter that Wall Street forecasts.

  • EPS: 28 cents, adjusted and excluding items, vs. 25 cents per share expected by a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate
  • Revenue: $2.29 billion vs. $2.28 billion expected by a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate
  • Q1 EPS guidance: 25 to 26 cents per share vs. 30 cents per share expected by a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate
  • Q1 revenue guidance: $2.34 billion to $2.35 billion vs. $2.365 billion expected

Tuesday's revenue figure was up 27 percent from the $1.81 billion reported a year ago.

Shares fluctuated after hours, rising as much as 3 percent before falling slightly.

The San Francisco-based enterprise software company has been battling to be one of the first $10 billion cloud services companies, alongside rivals like Oracle. Salesforce said on Tuesday it expects to achieve that goal in the next year with sales of $10.15 billion to $10.20 billion, "faster than any enterprise software company in history."

The company has doubled its revenue and tripled free cash flow over the past three years, chief financial officer Mark Hawkins said in a statement. But it has also plowed money into a slew of acquisitions over the past few years, including Demandware and Quip.

Despite raising its full-year guidance, the company expects acquisition-related margin pressure in the first half of next year, alongside some seasonal pressures around invoicing, Hawkins said on a conference call with investors.

The company's outspoken CEO, Marc Benioff, has emphasized the power of artificial intelligence to help businesses.

"With our latest release we are making artificial intelligence available to millions of Salesforce users with Einstein," Benioff said in a statement. The company also said it will announce some new products in a webcast on March 7.