LinkedIn is making progress in several key areas, and Twitter may be on the cusp of an acceleration in user growth, according to one analyst
For Twitter, the tide seems to have turned already after its earnings surprise last week, but LinkedIn continues to edge upward thanks to its earnings results. Both social networks have earned an Outperform rating and price target increase from analysts at FBN Securities.
In a pair of reports dated Feb. 7, analyst Shebly Seyrafi provided updates on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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LinkedIn price target moves to $300
Seyrafi upped his price target for LinkedIn from $275 to $300 per share. He pointed out that LinkedIn keeps posting top-line growth of more than 40% and that the social network keeps making progress in several areas.
Membership growth remains strong at 25%, while unique visitor growth was at 23% for the December quarter and page views grew by 36%. The result of all the growth in these areas is a higher engagement rate, which has improved 10%
Additionally, LinkedIn has made solid progress in the shift from desktop to mobile, with mobile making up 49% of its monthly unique visitors in the December quarter. That’s compared to 43% in the first fiscal quarter of 2014.
The social network has also made progress in other areas like jobs, content and global expansion, as well as in China, which is home to one-fifth of the world’s professionals. LinkedIn now has 8 million members in China, which is double the number it had there before February 2014 when it launched its Chinese version.
Twitter price target moves to $65
Separately, Seyrafi also bumped up his price target for Twitter from $60 to $65 per share. He predicts that monthly active user growth will start to pick up as engagement improves. The one constant sticking point in Twitter’s earnings reports since it went public has been user growth, so if Seyrafi is right on this one, it would be a huge catalyst for the micro-blogging platform’s stock.
Twitter’s ad revenue almost doubled year over year. The company reported 288 million monthly active users, missing the expectation of 292 million, but the engagement rate as measured by Timeline views per monthly active user increased 3% year over year.
The analyst also notes that in January, Twitter was already seeing its user trend turn around, and management said they expect the company’s net adds to be about what they were in the first three quarters of last year. Twitter added 14 million, 16 million and 13 million users in those three quarters before declining to 4 million in the fourth quarter. Seyrafi thinks these numbers suggest Twitter will see about 304 million users in the current quarter, an increase of about 16 million quarter over quarter.
As of this writing, shares of Twitter were down by 1.45% to $47.37, while LinkedIn stock was up by 1.89% to $268.39 per share.