, Inc (CRM) Tries to Hold Off Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Inc. (NYSE: CRM) reports its third-quarter earnings after the market close on Tuesday. Investors will be looking for strong growth numbers from the cloud services provider and will be watching closely to see how Salesforce is faring in the face of increasing competition from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and others.

Wall Street analysts are expecting Salesforce to report earnings of 37 cents per share on revenue of $2.64 billion. If Salesforce hits that revenue mark, it would represent 25 percent growth from the same quarter a year ago. In the second quarter, Salesforce reported 26 percent year-over-year growth.

But analysts will also be digging under the surface and looking at key underlying metrics as well.

Strategic Wealth Strategies CEO Mark Tepper is most interested in whether or not Salesforce can successfully expand its business internationally. “I think the two biggest things that you should watch for in the earnings report will be No. 1 – what is the trend in international growth,” Tepper said on CNBC.

In the past several years, 74 percent of Salesforce’s revenue has come from the Americas, and Tepper says investors should want to see more of that business transition overseas. “The second thing we’re really looking for is bottom-line results – are we able to mitigate some of the expenses that are associated with this overseas expansion and turn that into additional profitability,” he says.

Credit Suisse analyst Michael Nemeroff says investors should be most concerned with fourth-quarter deferred revenue and billings guidance. Salesforce already provided fiscal 2019 revenue guidance of $12.45 billion to $12.50 billion at the Dreamforce event earlier this month. “As such, investors will focus on the fiscal Q4 deferred revenue/implied billings guidance, which should provide confidence regarding the fiscal 2019 preliminary guide, as fiscal Q4 billings makes up almost 50 percent of CRM’s billings for the year,” Nemeroff says.

Credit Suisse is expecting fiscal fourth-quarter deferred revenue guidance of $6.80 billion and billings guidance of $5.44 billion. Wall Street consensus estimates are $6.75 billion and $5.39 billion, respectively.

Nemeroff is calling for third-quarter EPS of 37 cents on revenue of $2.64 billion, in line with consensus expectations.

In the longer term, however, he says…

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