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Salesforce is too cheap to ignore despite possible slower growth, JPMorgan says

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Enterprise software may be entering a period of slower growth amid concerns about a recession, but Salesforce remains a smart bet for investors, according to JPMorgan. Analyst Mark Murphy released the details of a survey of Salesforce partners, which showed expectations for growth shrinking on several fronts. However, there were some positives for Salesforce in the results as well, and Murphy said that the stock is “too cheap to pass up.” “Despite what appears to be an imperfect tactical setup, we view valuation as more depressed / defensive for CRM shares than for the broader software industry, at ~4x CY23 revenue and 20.2x CY23 FCF, likely undervaluing this sticky $32B cash-generative recurring revenue stream with expanding margins,” Murphy wrote. Rising interest rates and concerns about a broader economic slowdown have clouded the growth prospects for enterprise software. Salesforce’s messaging platform Slack, for example, was one area that could see slower growth, according to the survey. “We expect to see downticks accumulating due to the combination of inflation & rates, Fed tapering, stimulus withdrawal, recession talk, the Russia-Ukraine war, and ongoing supply chain sluggishness affecting business confidence. That said, the downticks are mostly subtle for now, and we believe the environment was manageable during FQ1, though seeming likely to soften in the coming quarters,” Murphy wrote. On the bright side, bookings and Salesforce’s cloud business still look strong, according to the survey results. JPMorgan has an overweight rating and a $316 price target on Salesforce, which is more that double what the stock closed at on Thursday. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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