Sneak Peek: Can (CRM) Keep Climbing Higher?

Consensus Estimates (High/Mean/Low): $0.28 / $0.273 / $0.26

High-flyer (NYSE: CRM) is set to report Q2 earnings this Thursday after the bell, and with mean estimates pegged at $0.273, the Street is expecting the company to register nearly 60% YoY EPS gains.  Considering they’re trading at about 150x TTM earnings, they’ll probably have to do even better than that if shares are to keep marching higher.

CRM is a leading provider of enterprise cloud computing applications whose real-time, multitenant architecture and CRM apps have revolutionized the way companies collaborate and communicate with their customers.  Their primary services include: the Sales Cloud, for salesforce automation and contract management; the Service Cloud, for customer service and support solutions; Chatter, for social collaboration; the platform, for custom application development; and the AppExchange, the world’s leading marketplace for enterprise cloud computing applications.

As of April 30, 2010, managed customer information for approximately 77,300 customers including Allianz Commercial, Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), Japan Post, Kaiser Permanente, KONE, and SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI).

CRM has beaten estimates in eight of the past eleven quarters and five of the past seven.  Last Q, they missed by a hair, reporting $0.30 vs. $0.303 consensus.  Current forward estimates have CRM increasing EPS 31% from ’11-’12, 24% from ’12-’13, and 31% from ’13-’14.

As one of the undisputed leaders in the cloud computing space, CRM is positioned to benefit from one of the few true high-visibility growth themes in tech.  Obviously, if the economy double-dips, all stocks will get a significant haircut.  But even if we face a relatively stagnant economy, the unquestioned migration towards the cloud will keep companies like CRM in  a position to grow EPS.

The worry at this point is whether shares have gotten ahead of themselves, tacking on about 25% between early-July and early-August.  Shares dropped about 5% last week, but still remain within reach of their all-time highs.  Considering the state of the market, you are likely to have opportunities to get into companies like CRM at lower levels if you are interested in holding shares long-term.  However, if you are looking for a trade, a break through recent highs at $104.29 on solid volume should provide the impetus for another move to the upside.

Disclosure: No holdings in CRM.