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) -- Thursday is shaping up to be a busy session with

LinkedIn's highly anticipated public debut

, another round of quarterly reports, and plenty of economic data for traders to pour over.

LinkedIn priced at $45 per share, the top of its range, and it'll be interesting to see if the market maxed out interest in the business-oriented social networking company, which now has an implied value of $4.25 billion. New investors will asking if a profit of $2.1 million in the March-ended quarter on revenue of $94 million is enough to justify that kind of market capitalization.



delivers its numbers before the opening bell, and Wall Street isn't expecting much. The consensus view is for a loss of $1.22 a share on sales of $9.63 billion in the April-ended quarter. The stock is up 2% in 2011, and the breakdown of analyst coverage is bearish with three holds and two underperform ratings.

It's a similar situation at



, which already telegraphed a weak quarter on May 5 when it reported April sales results, and said profits were being held back by a significant decrease in merchandising margins.

Shares of the San Francisco-based fashion apparel retailer had reached a 52-week high of $23.73 on May 4 and the pullback in the wake of the disappointing outlook has been relatively minor with the stock closing Wednesday at $23.03, but the majority of analysts

20 out of 31 are sitting tight with hold ratings ahead of the news.

Other reports of note include






, and



. The average analyst profit views are for earnings of 37 cents a share, 10 cents a share, and $2.27 a share respectively.

With earnings season just about over,

Bespoke Investment Group

compiled lists of the stocks that did the best and worst in the trading sessions immediately following their reports.

( ACOM) did the best, posting a

42.5% surge

, followed by



, up 33.6%;



, rising 31.6%; and



, gaining 30.4%.

The worst performers were led by



, down 32.6%;



, off 28.1%;


( TBL), sliding 26.3%, and



, falling 24.4%.

Limiting the analysis to just the

S&P 500

, Bespoke found that



, gaining nearly 17%, was the best performer; and

Akamai Technologies


was the worst with a decline of 14.7%.



will also be in focus on Thursday after the company

disclosed a hefty compensation package for CEO Vikram Pandit

. While the calls for Pandit's ouster have grown faint, longtime shareholders can't be too pleased with the stock down 12% so far in 2011. The package has plenty of strings attached though and Pandit will need to steer the ship well if he wants to see the maximum payoff.

As for economic data, initial claims for the week ended May 14 and continuing claims for the week ended May 7 arrive at 8:30 a.m. ET. The consensus view is for initial claims of 400,000, down from 434,000 in the previous week, according to

, whose own estimate is more bullish at 400,0000. Continuing claims are projected to contract down to 3.7 million by


The other data points for Thursday leading indicators and existing home sales for April and the Philly Fed index for May will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.

The major equity indexes got a

healthy bounce

on Wednesday, taking the FOMC minutes in stride, but the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

is still on pace for a third straight weekly decline.


contributor Timothy Collins

sees the potential for some flipping

on Thursday if the markets go higher.

"This is beginning to feel like many other bounces once again," he wrote after Wednesday's closing bell. "No volume. No belief. No problem. We're still within a range, so it is difficult to declare this the start of a new leg higher already."

And finally,


released its weekly flow report late Wednesday, noting that NYSE short interest increased again in the second half of April, a bullish indicator from a contrarian perspective as those bets came during a strong stretch for equities. The research and data firm said the

Federal Reserve

bought $22.5 billion in Treasuries in the past week and that the central bank plans to purchase another $27 billion next week.


take on the FOMC's minutes is that another round of QE is "very unlikely" and it estimates policymakers have purchased $719 billion worth of government debt since August 2010. The firm also estimates that hedge funds took in between $15 billion and $20 billion in April, bringing the 2011 total to $67 billion.

Most of the fresh cash came from pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, the firm said, adding that its analysis of the latest round of 13F filings found that hedge fund managers increased their allocations to the financial and basic materials sectors by 5.7% and 4.2% respectively in April.


Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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Michael Baron


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