Political instability in Italy triggered a sell-off yesterday, but a day later, the market was ready to move on. Stocks rebounded on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) both posting big gains.
Today's stock market
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Energy stocks bounced back strongly, with the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSEMKT:XOP) up 3.8%. Financials also recovered some of their recent losses; the Vanguard Financials ETF (NYSEMKT:VFH) rose 1.8%.
Salesforce continues strong momentum
Cloud computing giant Salesforce makes a habit of beating published sales and profit predictions and, true to form, the company reported first-quarter fiscal 2019 results that exceeded expectations, sending shares up 1.9%. Revenue grew 25% to $3.01 billion, above the top end of guidance and the $2.94 billion analysts were expecting. Non-GAAP earnings per share came in at $0.74, and although that number was boosted by $0.22 due to an accounting change, the remaining $0.52 was still way above the $0.46 in EPS that Wall Street was expecting.
All four of the company's cloud service offerings showed good growth. Revenue from core offering Sales Cloud grew 16% to $965 million, while Service Cloud added the most revenue growth in dollar terms, increasing 29% to $848 million. Marketing and Commerce Cloud sales soared 41%. Cash from operations increased 19% to $1.47 billion, and the company grew remaining transaction price -- future revenue under contract but not yet recognized -- 36% to $20.4 billion.
Looking forward, Salesforce boosted its full-year revenue guidance about 4% to $13.075-$13.125 billion and non-GAAP EPS guidance 13% to a range of $2.29 to $2.31.
Salesforce is relentlessly pursuing top-line growth, and is on pace to achieve its fiscal 2022 target of $21 billion to $23 billion in sales, through a combination of acquisitions and revenue growth, and shareholders should be pleased with the latest report.
Dick's delivers the goods
Dick's Sporting Goods hit a 300-yard drive right down the middle of the fairway when it reported strong profit growth on better-than-expected sales, sending shares soaring 25.8%. Sales increased 4.6% to $1.91 billion, and non-GAAP earnings per share grew 13.5% to $0.59. Analysts were expecting Dick's to earn $0.45 per share on sales of $1.88 billion.
Same-store sales actually decreased by 2.5% from the period a year earlier, after adjusting for a calendar shift. But strength in the company's e-commerce sales more than offset those losses, growing 24% from the year before and now accounting for 11% of total net sales. Sales in physical stores were hurt by declines in hunting and electronics, as well as by colder weather, which led to a delayed start of outdoor activities.
Dick's signaled optimism for the rest of the year by raising profit guidance. The company now expects to earn between $2.92 and $3.12 this year, compared with its earlier estimate of between $2.80 and $3.00.
"Our strong first quarter earnings reflect improved execution against our merchandising strategy, which resulted in higher merchandise margins," said CEO Edward W. Stack. "Product newness, strength in our private brands and a more refined assortment led to a much healthier business, with fewer promotions and cleaner inventory throughout the quarter."
This was the first quarter since the company announced changes to its gun policies, eliminating the sale of assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, as well as gun sales to people under 21 years old. Investors were braced for the impact from the backlash from gun rights advocates, but healthy profits against the backdrop of low expectations gave the stock a huge boost today.