4 Things Every LinkedIn Investor Should Be Watching This Earnings Season

By Markets Fool.com

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LinkedIn recently passed 1 million members publishing to the site regularly. Credit: LinkedIn.

Shares of LinkedInstock entered the week down around 2%year to date. Will the slide continue, or are better days ahead?

A lot depends on how well the business performs. Here's a closer look at what analysts expect to see when the career network reports second-quarter earnings on July 30:

Q2 Estimates
Revenue
YOY Growth
EPS
YOY Growth

Low estimate

$661.8 million 23.9% $0.29 (43.1%)

High estimate

$694.44 million 30.1% $0.36 (29.4%)

S&P CAPITAL IQ CONSENSUS

$680.08 million

27.4%

$0.30

(41.2%)

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

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Looking at history, a beat is to be expected. Less clear is how big a beat would have to be in order to satisfy both the Street and everyday investors. Last quarter's $0.01 win paled compared to the results in earlier quarters:

Q2 2014
Q3 2014
Q4 2014
Q1 2015

Consensus

$0.39

$0.47

$0.53 $0.56

Actual

$0.51

$0.52

$0.61 $0.57

DIFFERENCE

$0.12

$0.05

$0.08

$0.01

Source:S&P Capital IQ.

Looking at the overall business, I'm watching for momentum in each of these four areas:

1. High growth in Talent Solutions. Still LinkedIn's core business, Talent Solutions helps external and internal recruiters and hiring managers connect with candidates they may not have considered otherwise. In Q1, this segment of the business grew 36%, and accounted for a whopping 62% of revenue.Diversification could drive that down a percentage point or two, which would be a good thing if LinkedIn were to accelerate overall revenue growth in Q2. (Sales jumped 47% in last year's second quarter, and 35% in Q1.)

2. Expanding interest in Marketing Solutions. Earlier this month, the company announced that 1 million professionals had published at least one post to LinkedIn. How well that impacts revenue isn't entirely clear, but there's little doubt that marketers find value in the platform. First-quarter revenue from Marketing Solutions increased 38% year over year. Further acceleration could signal successful diversification for the business.

3. Outsized growth in job listings. While it's true that members spend time on LinkedIn for any number of reasons, job listings are a key draw. The network was advertising 3.5 million openings as of April 30. Meaningful additions to that total could signal needed strength in the core business.

4. An update on how LinkedIn plans to cash in on lynda.com. In the first-quarter earnings conference call,CEO Jeff Weiner referred to the deal as one of the company's "most transformational opportunities." The thinking? LinkedIn could grow to become a place where members learn valuable skills they'll use to transform their careers. Evidence of an outsized number of users taking lynda.com courses could help to illustrate Weiner's point, and be catalytic for the stock.

LinkedIn is scheduled to report Q2 results Thursday, July 30, after the market closes. Leave a comment to let us know what you're expecting, and what you think of LinkedIn stock at current prices.

The article 4 Things Every LinkedIn Investor Should Be Watching This Earnings Season originally appeared on Fool.com.

Tim Beyerslinks in to all sorts of technology on a daily basis. Whether that's good or not is a matter of debate. He's also a member of theMotley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. Check out Tim'sweb homeandportfolio holdingsor connect with him onGoogle+,Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by@milehighfool.The Motley Fool recommends LinkedIn. The Motley Fool owns shares of LinkedIn. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.