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Bears Are Skeptical of LinkedIn Analyst Upgrade:

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- LinkedIn (LNKD - Get Report) got liked by an analyst Wednesday morning. But investors on still didn't want to connect with the business social network.

$LNKD Sell Sell Sell... this gap will be sold off very hard.... don't be scared if short!

-- JJ (@ChartGuru) Apr. 9 at 09:18 AM

LinkedIn shares opened more than 3% higher Wednesday after an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets upgraded the stock from a hold to a buy with a $230 price target. However, sentiment on the stock remained majority bearish, with 54% believing shares had farther to fall, according to StockTwits analytics.

Valuation was a primary reason for the upgrade. The company stock is down nearly 34% from its 52-week high of $257.56, hit in September of last year. With an intraday market cap of about $20.4 billion, LinkedIn trades at 13 times trailing 12-month sales and 67 times estimated 2015 earnings. For comparison's sake, Twitter (TWTR) trades at 35 times trailing 12-month sales and nearly 190 times estimated 2015 earnings, according to Capital IQ stats published on Yahoo! Finance. Facebook (FB) trades at 19 times trailing 12-month sales and 35 times estimated 2015 earnings.

"The current broader pullback in Internet stocks has impacted LinkedIn disproportionately, in our view," said Analyst Victor Anthony.

Anthony wrote that concerns about slowing job-posting growth and weak third party traffic data are now priced into LinkedIn's stock. It closed at $169 per share Tuesday, offering a "compelling entry point, with approximately 35% upside to our price target," Anthony wrote. "Near-term, we seen 1Q14 results topping consensus estimates against conservative revenue and EBITDA guidance, with a likely increase in full year guidance."

Analysts expect LinkedIn to report 35 cents in earnings per share on $466.81 million in earnings, according to stats on Yahoo! Finance. But the company has a history of beat and raise. Last quarter, it beat on earnings by a penny and sales by about $10 million. It beat third quarter EPS expectations by 7 cents. Revenues in the third quarter topped estimates by about $7 million.

Many cashtaggers said they doubted LinkedIn would top their own guidance, given management's attitude on the last earnings call.

@MitchellKWarren unlikely to beat/raise. body language from mgmt is horrid

-- CapsFan (@rodlong) Apr. 9 at 09:19 AM

However, some supported Topeka's Anthony. They argued Wednesday that the stock should, at least, see $200 in the near term.

$LNKD First area is $180, $190 & then $200. When this type of sequence lower ends while still in an uptrend, larger move up is still in the cards

-- Bruce J Moschella (@GICfutures) Apr. 9 at 08:16 AM

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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