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NQ Sinks on Audit: Tech Winners and Losers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) Shares of LightInTheBox Holding  (LITB - Get Report) continued to rise, jumping 3.17% to $6.83 nearly a week after they revised their second quarter 2014 guidance.

The international online retailer announced Friday that they were raising their Q2 guidance from $84-86 million to $86-88 million. This update raises the year-over-year increase in guidance from 19% to 22%. That day, LightInTheBox shares surged more than 25%.

"We are encouraged by the better-than-expected results for the second quarter," Alan Guo, the CEO of the Beijing-based company, said in a statement. "We look forward to providing investors with more details about our performance on our second quarter earnings conference call." 

Chinese e-commerce companies have performed particularly well this week. 58.com (WUBA), Dangdang (DANG), and JD.com (JD) all saw double-digit gains.


NQ Mobile (NQ - Get Report) shares plunged 32.10% to $4.61 following the announcement of irregularities with the company's audit.

A company press release stated that auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers "would need to perform additional procedures and expand the scope of its 2013 audit work." The press release stated that the company "was considering PwC's request." In addition, the same press released announced that the company was replacing the chair of its audit committee, a highly unusual step in the middle of such an audit.

NQ has been plagued by accusations of fraud. For example, Muddy Waters Research, a firm run by short-seller Carson Block, called the company a "massive fraud," citing, among other things, cash balances are "highly likely to not be real." By 11:40 am yesterday, the volume of trades was almost double the company's daily average.


Following this week's historic rise, shares of Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) continued to gain, inching up 1.02% to $471.49.

Netflix hit an 52-week high on July 1, jumping 7.38% to $473.10 after Goldman Sachs  (GS) analyst Heath Terry upgraded the stock from Neutral to Buy and raised 12-month price target to $590.0 million from $380.0 million. Terry wrote that Netflix has the potential to double its subscribers in three years and has had tremendous success attracting children through children's programming. 

The stock fell to $466.74 on Wednesday but is today approaching Tuesday's levels.


Best Buy (BBY - Get Report) shares rose 2.23% to $32.14 following a modest upgrade from Moody's.

The ratings agency maintained Best Buy's Baa2 rating but upgraded its outlok from negative to stable. Moody's vice president Charlie O'Shea wrote that the rationale behind the upgrade was "the progress Best Buy is making as it transitions to a true multi-channel retailer." The company has built vendor relationships with Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony. That and its "excellent liquidity provides it with the ability to further invest in price on a tactical basis to defend market share against lower-margin competitors such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon."

Best Buy is the largest dedicated consumer electronics retailer. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2015, which ended in May 2014, the company beat expectations by raising its EPS from $0.32 to $0.33.


Despite an uproar, Facebook's (FB) controversial study has not affected its share price, closing down 0.16% to finish at $66.29.

Last weekend, Facebook revealed that it had manipulated the feeds of nearly 700,000 users in 2012 to determine whether or not visible content could affect users' emotions. In response to public criticism, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, "This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated. And for that communication we apologize. We never meant to upset you."

Facebook employee Adam Kramer, a member of the team that conducted the experiment, said on his own Facebook page, "Our goal was never to upset anyone. I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my coauthors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused."

--Written by Laura Berman in New York

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