Salesforce and two other promising cloud stocks could still have plenty of room to run.
Sept. 3, 2020
This article originally appears on The Motley Fool, written by Leo Sun.
Many cloud stocks have stayed resilient throughout the COVID-19 crisis, since the sector is well-insulated from pandemic-related headwinds. In many cases, the pandemic actually generated tailwinds for cloud companies as their clients pivoted toward remote work and automated services.
That’s why it isn’t surprising that so many cloud stocks are currently trading near their all-time highs. Let’s take a look at three of those stocks which are still worth buying: salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), Veeva Systems (NYSE:VEEV), and CrowdStrike (NASDAQ:CRWD).
Salesforce is the world’s largest provider of cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) solutions. It controlled 18.4% of that growing market last year, according to IDC, more than the combined market share of its four largest rivals.
Salesforce also bundles its CRM services with a wide range of sales, marketing, and commerce cloud services. Its solutions help companies streamline their workflows, automate business processes, and make analytics-driven decisions, all of which cut costs, save time, and reduce the need for human employees.
Salesforce’s stock has surged about 75% over the past 12 months, with a big jump after its second-quarter earnings report on Aug. 26. During that quarter, revenue and adjusted earnings grew 29% and 152%, respectively. It posted its highest operating margin ever, and it raised its guidance for the full fiscal year, which ends next January. Salesforce now expects its revenue to grow 21% to 22% and for its adjusted earnings to rise 24% to 25%.
Salesforce’s stock might initially look pricey at 74 times earnings estimates and 12 times sales, but it’s actually cheaper than many of its high-growth cloud industry peers. Moreover, Salesforce’s dominance of the CRM market, its expanding ecosystem, and its ability to thrive throughout the pandemic and profit from the ongoing digitization of businesses all justify its higher valuation. In other words, Salesforce’s stock could still have plenty of upside potential.
Veeva provides cloud-based CRM solutions, storage solutions, and other cloud services for life science companies. It was co-founded by Salesforce’s former SVP of technology, Peter Gassner, and its platforms still run on Salesforce’s cloud services.
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Veeva serves nearly 900 customers, including pharmaceutical giants AstraZeneca and Merck. Its tools help these companies maintain customer relationships, track clinical trials and regulations, and analyze their data. Veeva doesn’t face any meaningful competitors in its niche, and escalating competition between drugmakers fuels its long-term growth.
Veeva’s stock has risen about 65% over the past 12 months, and it has generated consistent growth throughout the COVID-19 crisis. It expects revenue to rise 28% to 29% for the full fiscal year, which ends next January, and its adjusted earnings to grow 21% to 22%.
Veeva’s stock looks even pricier than Salesforce’s at over 100 times earnings estimates and nearly 30 times sales. But like Salesforce, Veeva is shielded from COVID-19, the trade war, and other macro headwinds; it dominates its market; and it’s riding high on multiple secular tailwinds.
Veeva believes it can generate $3 billion in annual revenue by fiscal 2025, up from $1.1 billion in revenues in 2020. If Veeva hits that target, its high-flying stock could still have plenty of room to soar.
CrowdStrike is a cloud-based cybersecurity company that provides endpoint security, threat detection, and cyberattack response services. It bundles these services into its core platform, Falcon, and its customers include 44 of the Fortune 100 companies.
CrowdStrike’s tools are designed to foil corporate espionage and attacks from foreign governments. It gained widespread attention after investigating the hack of Sony Pictures in 2014 and the Russian cyberattacks against the Democratic National Convention in 2015-2016.
CrowdStrike’s stock has risen more than 30% over the past 12 months. Last quarter, its revenue soared 85%, its subscriber base more than doubled, its gross margin expanded, and it posted its first adjusted profit since its IPO last year. For the current fiscal year, which ends in January, it expects its revenue to rise 58% to 61% and for its adjusted net loss to narrow.
CrowdStrike’s stock also isn’t cheap at over 30 times this year’s estimated sales. However, CrowdStrike’s reputation in the crowded cybersecurity market, its robust growth in revenue and margins, and the long-term growth of the cloud-based security market could all justify that premium. With an enterprise value of just over $20 billion, it also remains a tempting takeover target for larger tech companies.
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