UPDATE 2-Salesforce.com results beat Street

Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:51pm EST

Nov 20 (Reuters) - Business software provider Salesforce.com Inc beat Wall Street expectations for the third quarter and maintained its earnings outlook for the rest of its fiscal year despite the cloudy macroeconomic outlook.

The company has seemed to weather the effects of Superstorm Sandy and fears among its clients surrounding the "fiscal cliff" as it projected sales for the current quarter, ending January, of between $825 million and $830 million, roughly in line with analysts' forecast of $829.9 million.

Shares rose 1.8 percent to $148.59 in extended trade.

Salesforce, which sells marketing and sales services to companies like Kimberly-Clark Corp and General Electric , has seen its shares soar 44 percent this year but they have sagged in recent weeks on doubts whether businesses will pull back on information technology spending.

In recent months, CEO Marc Benioff has aggressively pitched his company's newly expanded suite of social media products, dubbed "Social Enterprise," which lets companies track what customers are saying about them on Twitter and Facebook, for example.

The company, which continues to trade at one of the highest multiples in the tech sector, initiated its forecast for its 2014 fiscal year, projecting revenue between $3.8 billion and $3.85 billion, in line with analysts' $3.83 billion.

For the third quarter, ending Oct. 31, Salesforce reported a per-share loss of $1.55 on a non-adjusted basis.

After excluding a one-time tax charge and stock-based compensation costs, the company reported earnings of 33 cents a share, a penny above analyst projections of 32 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

It reported revenue of $788 million for the quarter; analysts, on average, predicted revenue of $776.5 million.

By the end of the quarter, unbilled deferred revenue, a leading indicator of sales, had risen to roughly $3 billion, up slightly from $2.8 billion at the end of July, the company said.

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