LinkedIn Corp (LNKD) Price Target Cut Ahead Of Earnings

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LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) is scheduled to release its next earnings report tomorrow after closing bell. The social network’s stock took a dive after the last earnings report in February, falling 17% as investors were disappointed by the provided guidance. The stock climbed back to within $10 of its 2014 high later that month, but it has been declining steadily since then.

LinkedIn affected by momentum pullback

In a report dated April 29, 2014, BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis said he believes the pullback has had less to do with LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD)’s business and more to do with the general pullback in other momentum stocks. The result has been a 29% decline, which is similar to that of fellow momentum stocks Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and others.

The analyst believes there is still plenty of room for LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) stock to grow, however, as the social network’s market capitalization is still lower than that of competitors Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). LinkedIn’s market cap is at around $18 billion, while newly public Twitter has a market cap of $23 billion and veteran Facebook’s market cap is $150 billion.

Nonetheless, he did reduce his price target for LinkedIn, cutting it from $250 to $215 per share but maintaining his Buy rating.

Still positive on LinkedIn

The analyst notes that LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD)’s revenue has been slowing, concerning investors. Also the amount of the company’s earnings upside has been shrinking. However, he remains positive on LinkedIn, particularly its position in the market and the three diverse streams of revenue it enjoys. He also likes the company’s acquisition strategy, which focuses on targets in the $100 million range.

Because the market has already accounted for the disappointment in LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD)’s guidance and the history of passing consensus in every quarter since it went public, the analyst suggests that investors “who can stomach the volatility” of stocks like LinkedIn to buy shares “ahead of the quarter.”

What to expect from LinkedIn’s earnings report

Gillis is projecting $469 million in net revenue for LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD)’s March quarter, which would be 4.8% quarter over quarter growth and 44.4% year over year. He’s actually ahead of consensus estimates at $466.6 million and the company’s guidance of between $455 million and $460 million.

He estimates adjusted earnings per share of 40 cents, which is lower than last year’s 45 cents per share but ahead of last quarter’s 39 cents per share. The analyst also remains ahead of consensus on adjusted earnings, as Wall Street expects 34 cents per share.

Under LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD)’s Talent Solutions segment, he’s estimating $262.6 million in revenue, which is 42% growth year over year. He’s estimating Marketing Solutions revenue of $112.5 million, a 50.4% year over year growth rate, and Premium Subscriptions revenue of $93.8 million, a 42.9% growth rate year over year.

Breaking down his projections by geography, he expects LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) to report $325.7 million in revenue from the Americas, $108 million from Europe, the Middle East, and Arica, and $35.2 million from the Asia Pacific region. He believes $286 million of the social network’s revenue will come from field sales and $183 million will come from online sales.

LinkedIn’s earnings expected to be a catalyst, either way

The analyst also put together an interesting chart showing significant moves in shares of LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) the day after its last eight earnings report. In four of the last eight periods, the percentage movement was in the double digits. In three of the other four, movement was still meaningful at more than a 6% change, either upward or downward.

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