Salesforce Sell-Off Shakes Tech, AI Sectors But Could Spell Opportunity

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Salesforce’s shocking earnings miss and subsequent stock plunge sent shockwaves through the technology and artificial intelligence spaces on Thursday. But some investors see the dramatic selloff as a potential chance to buy into the AI growth story on the dip.

Shares of the cloud software giant cratered over 20% in early trading, putting the stock on pace for its worst single-day decline since going public nearly two decades ago. The plunge came after Salesforce reported its first top-line miss since 2006 and provided disappointing guidance, surprising Wall Street and raising concerns about cracks in business spending.

The selloff rapidly spread across the tech sector, with the Nasdaq tumbling over 2% as investors fled growth stocks. AI industry leaders were among the biggest drags on the index amid fears Salesforce’s shortfall could indicate broader economic turbulence.

While the numbers were clearly disappointing, some analysts remain steadfastly optimistic that Salesforce’s fortunes will turn as artificial intelligence proliferates. With $13.5 billion in cash and a portfolio of AI capabilities from its acquisition of startup Anthropic, contrarians are betting the company is well-positioned to monetize generative AI technologies over the long haul.

For small cap and retail traders, Salesforce’s dramatic share price compression could open an attractive entry point. The stock’s forward P/E has plunged below 20, near multi-year lows despite its exposure to the “game-changing AI theme.” With a market cap around $178 billion as of Thursday, some view Salesforce as a relative bargain in the potential AI winners circle.

AI economies of scale could help Salesforce flex its tech muscles again before too long. One firm expects the company to increasingly leverage AI not just for products, but also for improving productivity and driving revenue engine automation. Cost streamlining aided by AI could lift operating margins towards the company’s target over time.

For traders and institutions alike, the frenzied selling appears to be creating an intriguing disconnect between Salesforce’s current valuation and what bulls perceive as enviable AI exposure compared to pricier megacap tech names. If dark economic clouds do part, the recent plunge could mark an opportunistic entry point.

Volatility around AI innovators is likely to remain elevated as the marketplace continues rapidly evolving. However, Salesforce’s cloud presence, entrenched client base, and multi-billion AI investments suggest it’s far too early to throw in the towel on this pioneering tech trailblazer.


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