Earnings season will be going on for several more weeks as we see reports from more technology companies. Among those which have yet to report are Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), which will release its December quarter results on Jan. 29, and LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), which will post its results early next month.
Facebook expectations reasonable, but upside possible
RBC Capital analyst Mark S. Mahaney and his team say Wall Street’s expectations for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) appear to be reasonable, although if there’s a surprise, they believe it’s more likely to be to the upside than the downside. They’re expecting the social network to report $2.33 billion in revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share of 27 cents. These numbers suggest a 47% year over year growth in revenue and 50% year over year EBITDA growth.
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The RBC team examined a few different data points in coming up with their view. They note that comScore traffic trends for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) showed that engagement in the U.S., Europe and Asia Pacific regions is growing when measured by minutes per unique visitor. They also note that their proprietary advertiser survey pointed to a number of positive results for the social network. They say it was ranked as the second most effective ad platform following Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and came out on top in ad spending and ad spending growth.
There are several items they will be focusing on in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s upcoming report. Of course user growth and engagement continue to be important, as are signs about expansion into video ads and Instagram monetization. They see advertising revenue growth being driven by mobile as being more important than ad load. In addition, they also expect to see margin compression since the social network reduced guidance for a 50% increase in 2013 operating expenditures down to 45%.
The RBC team continues to rate Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) as Outperform with a $60 per share price target.
LinkedIn brings limited upside
They also remain positive on LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), however, the company’s valuation means they have given it a slightly lower rating than Facebook. They have a Sector Perform rating on the company. They believe LinkedIn will report $425 million in revenue, $105 million in EBITDA and 35 cents per share in non-GAAP earnings per share. Their estimates are slightly under consensus, although they think that, based on their data points, Wall Street’s estimates are pretty reasonable.
The RBC team notes that Web traffic trends for LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) were negative during the quarter. U.S. desktop unique users decelerated to 16% growth from 29% in the previous quarter. Global desktop users grew 21% year over year according to numbers from October and November, which is also a deceleration from the 30% growth noted in the third quarter. They also tracked job posting on the site and noted that the total number of postings was down 14% in December sequentially.