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LinkedIn Surges: What Wall Street's Saying

Stocks in this article: LNKD

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- LinkedIn's (LNKD) shares continued to soar, as second-quarter earnings results on Thursday surged past estimates, and the company continued its routine of low-balling guidance.

For the second-quarter, LinkedIn earned 38 cents a share on $363.7 million in revenue, a 59% increase on the same period a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting profit of 31 cents a share and revenue of $353.8 million.

Though the company raised full-year revenue guidance, the next quarter's guidance, as has become customary, was lower than expected. LinkedIn expects revenue between $367 million and $373 million, below the $383.3 million expected by a Bloomberg survey. For the full year, the professional networking site raised its revenue guidance to a range between $1.46 billion and $1.48 billion, up from a prior range of $1.43 billion to $1.46 billion.

On the earnings call, CEO Jeff Weiner pointed out that LinkedIn has 238 million users worldwide, with almost two-thirds (65%) of them from outside the U.S.

Following the exceptionally strong quarterly results and full-year guidance raise, several analysts on Wall Street raised their price targets, as the company continues to fire on all cylinders.

Here's what a number of analysts had to say following the quarter.

UBS analyst Eric Sheridan (Neutral, $230 PT from $180)

"LinkedIn delivered a better than expected result, but for the second consecutive quarter the company is guiding both revenue & Adj EBITDA to below Street forward estimates (after a year of consecutive raises to levels above Street estimates). Given LinkedIn's full valuation multiples (~45x 2014 EBITDA) & recent outperformance (outperformed S&P ~80% YTD), we see little upside to the stock from current levels unless Street ests move higher from current levels."

Lazard analyst William Bird (Neutral)

"LNKD reported solid results, highlighted by a spike in member growth to 238M, the first qtr. of acceleration since 2011. Though EPS surprised by $0.07 ($0.04 from a lower tax rate, $0.03 from operations), the after-hours stock reaction (+7.5%) seems exaggerated in light of Q3 and 2013 guidance below Street ests. LNKD continues to execute well in striking an effective balance between monetization efforts and pouring greater utility into the site. Our NEUTRAL rating stems from discomfort with the valuation of 115x 2014E EPS ex SBC and the context of likely slowing growth in the 2H."

Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju (Outperform, $251 PT from $220)

"LinkedIn moderately raised its FY13 guidance, although for the most part it was a flow-thru of the 2Q13 beat. Our investment thesis contingent on LNKD's - 1) large and expanding TAM, 2) low penetration rate for Talent Solutions, 3) longer-term opportunity to migrate its subscription model to a pay-per-transaction model, and 4) the opportunity to leverage data to drive inventory pricing higher  remains unchanged. In the near term, the company continues to invest in its platform, reflected by a recently redesigned mobile app, LinkedIn Contacts, and Check-Ins initiatives, and the continued ramp of Sponsored Updates."

JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth (Overweight, $259 PT)

"LinkedIn posted strong 2Q results with upside across top and bottom lines. 3Q and 2013 guidance came in light--below consensus revenue and EBITDA--but we believe it is conservative given the solid 2Q beat and ongoing momentum, particularly within Talent Solutions and Premium Subscriptions."

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali (Buy, $25O PT)

"While we don't like chasing runaway stocks (and LNKD has certainly been one), we don't mind being forced to do so in rare cases where a company keeps outperforming expectations and where the long-term outlook keeps getting better with every passing quarter--we believe LNKD is one of these rare cases. We're upgrading LNKD to BUY from HOLD with a $250 PT, up from $170."

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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