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LinkedIn Beats and Low Balls, Time Warner Cable Cruises, CBS Hits High: Media Roundup

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -

LinkedIn (LNKD)'s second-quarter earnings results blew past analyst forecasts, posting a profit of 38 cents per share on $363.7 million in sales, a 59% increase above the same period a year ago.

And as has become customary with the Mountain View, Calif.-based professional networking site, LinkedIn forecast revenue for the current quarter that trailed forecasts. In a statement, LinkedIn said it is expecting sales in a range of $367 million to $373 million, trailing an average analyst projection for $383.3 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Growth slowed sequentially in the second-quarter though 59% should indicate that LinkedIn continues to attract new users and find new ways to get them to buy additional services. Nonetheless, it's the slowest pace of revenue growth since the company went public in May 2011.

But slowing growth shouldn't be confused with slowing ambitions. Chief Executive Jeff Weiner said in a conference call with investors that while LinkedIn counts 238 million users worldwide, with 65% of that total coming from outside the U.S., its sights are set on the 600 million "knowledge professional" working around the world.

Forecasts had called for LinkedIn to report earnings of 31 cents of per share on $354 million in sales for the three months ended June 30 compared to $228 million for the same period a year earlier, according to the average of 30 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Shares were climbing 6.1% in after-hours trading after closing regular trading at $213, a gain of 4.5% for the day.

Linkedin has been on a tear this year. Shares are up 85%, far outpacing the 20% gain for the S&P 500.

Elsewhere, Time Warner Cable (TWC) shares rose 3.2% to $117.68, an advance fueled as much by its quarterly results as what the pay-TV operator may do in the not-to-distant future.

Profit for the quarter did beat estimates, as earnings per share totaled $1.69, surpassing the $1.65 average in a Bloomberg survey. But sales were light, rising a mere 2.7% to $5.55 billion, missing the $5.57 billion estimate.

Time Warner added a less-than-impressive 21,000 high-speed Internet customers in the quarter ended June 30, a paltry total compared to Comcast Communications (CMCSA), which said on Wednesday that it added 187,000 broadband subscribers in the same period.

Time Warner Cable also lost 189,000 pay-TV subs in the quarter, continuing a steady but nonetheless worrisome trend confronting all pay-TV operators.

The New York-based pay-TV company's stock might have fallen had it not been for the floor provided by John Malone, the Liberty Media chairman whose company holds a 27% stake in the Stamford, Conn.-based Charter Communications (CHTR). Charter has 4 million subscribers to more than 12 million for Time Warner Cable, but the wily Malone, who all but created the pay-TV industry, is revered among investors as "smart money." Following him has usually meant hitting a jackpot.

Malone last month made clear that he's open to a deal with Time Warner Cable. That sentiment is helping elevate Time Warner Cable's stock, said Wells Fargo media analyst Marci Ryvicker. "From our conversations with investors, it sounds like the worse trends get, the more the market anticipates a transaction," involving Time Warner Cable, she wrote in an Aug. 1 investor note.

CBS (CBS) climbed to a 13-year high, rising 3.9% to $54.88 a day after the country's most-watched network posted sales and net income that beat forecasts on higher-than-expected revenue from pay-TV and streaming partners.

The New York Times (NYT) investors were hoping to see some reason for optimism, namely, an improvement in advertising revenue. Yet, ad sales fell for an 11th consecutive quarter.

Ken Doctor, an analyst at market-research company Outsell Inc., said the newspaper publisher must retain its current business while continue to invest in operations that provide more dependable growth. Of course, that means accelerating the transition to digital and video to offset the decline in daily print media sales. Digital subscriptions did indeed grow to 699,000 from 676,000 in the first quarter.

The company excelled in digital-only subscription packages, e-readers, and replica editions which saw a 44.1% increase to $38.3 million.

UBS analysts, led by John Janedis, placed a $9 price target on New York Times, below ifs current trading price. Janedis wrote in an investor report published Aug. 1 that an economic slowdown combined with a decline in circulation and expense pressures will continue to threaten future performance.

Written by Leon Lazaroff in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: LeonLazaroff.>.

Stock quotes in this article: TWC, CBS, CMCSA, LNKD 

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