With one statement on an earnings call Tuesday evening, often cheery Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff sought to quiet the naysayers predicting economic doom and gloom as the calendar turns to 2018.
“When we look out for next year, I’m not sure I can see it going faster than it is now, because I’m not sure… where we would get all the people to hire that we need to hire. This is amazing what’s happening and not just for us but for everybody. But maybe there is a modest slowdown, if it’s 2% to 3% next year of the GDP, I wouldn’t be hugely surprised. But I don’t see some huge sea change in the economy, I consider to see strong growth because I’ve seen so much investment this year, it’s going to pay out for these companies going forward,” Benioff told analysts.
He added, “I see still several years ahead of good solid growth for the economy.” Benioff did acknowledge more “conservative” economic outlooks among the CEOs in Europe and Asia he talks with regularly.
But, only time will tell if those on Wall Street calling for a 2019 U.S. recession listen to the well-plugged in billionaire Salesforce founder and Time magazine co-owner.
Fortunately for Benioff, Salesforce delivered the type of quarter and outlook that back up his bullish claims. The results paint a picture of a Corporate America that is still willing to pay big bucks to invest in long-term tech projects, even in a slower growth environment. Salesforce’s third quarter sales surged 26%. Sales increased 25% in the Americas, 26% in Asia Pacific and 31% in Europe.
The cloud software player said it sees sales increasing 21% next year to $16 billion. It also remains on track to achieving its fiscal year 2022 sales goal of $21 to $23 billion.
Salesforce shares surged 10% in trading on Wednesday.
Investors have been pre-occupied with what a growth slowdown in the U.S. in 2019 would mean to the ten-year bull market in stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 are all narrowly in the red for the year. Once hot tech stocks such as Apple and Netflix are down more than 20% each in the past three months on fears of slowing earnings growth.
The market has begun to catch a bid, however, amid a strong start to the holiday shopping season for retailers. The message: if consumers are feeling recessionary, they aren’t acting like it when shopping retail websites this month.
A record $7.9 billion was spent on Cyber Monday this year, up 19.3% year over year, according to Adobe Analytics. Macy’s chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette told Yahoo Finance the holiday season started “strong” for the department store retailer.
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi
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