LinkedIn Corp's Sell Recommendation Affirmed

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a sell with a ratings score of D+. The area that we feel has been the company's primary weakness has been its disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, LINKEDIN CORP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for LINKEDIN CORP is currently very high, coming in at 86.45%. Regardless of LNKD's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, LNKD's net profit margin of 1.02% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, LNKD's share price has jumped by 119.23%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Setting our sights on the months ahead, however, we feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The implication is that its reduced upside potential is not good enough to warrant further investment at this time.
  • LINKEDIN CORP reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, LINKEDIN CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.19 versus $0.11 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.53 versus $0.19).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Internet Software & Services industry average. The net income increased by 32.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2.81 million to $3.73 million.

LinkedIn Corporation operates an online professional network. LinkedIn has a market cap of $23.8 billion and is part of the technology sector and internet industry. Shares are up 120.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full LinkedIn Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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