LinkedIn shares rise on strong results

Reuters News
Posted: May 04, 2012 7:08 AM
LinkedIn shares rise on strong results

(Reuters) - Shares of LinkedIn Corp rose 10 percent in premarket trade after the company posted strong first-quarter results, and analysts forecast bigger profits ahead as the professional networking site engages its members better.

Six brokerages raised their price target on LinkedIn after it posted stellar first-quarter results on Thursday, powered by strong growth from its services that help companies find and hire employees.

"LinkedIn is disrupting both the online and offline job recruitment markets, and deeper corporate penetration and increasing member engagement will drive strong results going forward," J.P. Morgan Securities' analyst Doug Anmuth said.

LinkedIn -- which makes money by selling services and subscriptions to companies looking for new recruits -- now has more than 161 million members worldwide.

"We believe LinkedIn's member network is creating a pull that is solidifying its product set as a must-have for human resources professionals," said Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Graham, who raised his price target on the stock to $135 from $95.

LinkedIn also raised its 2012 revenue view and announced a $118.75 million acquisition.

"The company is clearly on a very solid growth trajectory, which this quarter's revenue performance amply demonstrated," said Evercore Partners' analyst Ken Sena, who is rated five stars by Thomson Reuters StarMine for the accuracy of his earnings estimates on LinkedIn.

Analysts at JP Morgan, Evercore Partners, Barclays Capital and Citigroup also raised their price target on the stock.

LinkedIn, which went public last year, was one of the first prominent U.S. social networking sites to come out with an initial public offering, whetting appetites ahead of Facebook's big offering this year.

According to Thomson Reuters StarMine, two analysts rate the stock "strong buy," eight rate it "buy," 11 have a "hold," and only one rates it a "sell." The mean price target on the stock is $108.47.

LinkedIn shares were up $10.79 at $120.20 in premarket trading on Friday. They had closed at $109.41 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.