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Salesforce Beats Expectations on Strong Cloud Software Sales

Key Speakers At The WSJDLive Global Technology ConferenceKey Speakers At The WSJDLive Global Technology Conference co-founder and CEO Marc BenioffPatrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg via Getty Images better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit, boosted by strong demand for its cloud-based sales and marketing software.

Revenue from sales cloud, the company’s flagship product, rose 14.5% to $829.6 million in the first quarter ended April 30.

Salesforce’s deferred revenue rose 26% to $5.04 billion in the quarter. Analysts on average had expected deferred revenue of $4.93 billion, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet StreetAccount.

The metric is keenly watched by investors as subscription-based software companies such as Salesforce book revenue in stages rather than at the time of a sale.

Demand for cloud-based services is soaring as companies look to take advantage of such offerings due to lower costs and high level of scalability.

Salesforce said it expected a full-year adjusted profit of $1.28 to $1.30 per share and revenue of $10.25 billion to $10.30 billion.

Analysts on an average were expecting a profit of $1.29 per share on revenue of $10.19 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company reported a net loss of $9.2 million, or 1 cent per share, in the latest quarter, compared with a profit of $38.8 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier.

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Revenue rose 24.6% to $2.39 billion.

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Excluding items, the company earned 28 cents per share in the latest quarter.

Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 26 cents per shares and revenue of $2.35 billion.

Shares of the company (CRM) fell marginally after the bell on Thursday.