LinkedIn Heads North on Big 3Q Beat, Outlook Upgrade

By FOXBusiness

Shares of LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) leaped as much as 8% Friday morning after the professional social network blew away Wall Street’s expectations by generating an 81% surge in third-quarter revenue and upgrading its full-year targets.

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The upbeat earnings report and rosier guidance from LinkedIn late Thursday led a number of brokerages to raise their price targets on the company’s stock Friday morning.

While the stock opened with a burst of buying, the gains moderated and it was recently up about 2%.

LinkedIn logged a non-GAAP profit of 22 cents a share last quarter, doubling forecasts from analysts for EPS of just 11 cents. Revenue climbed 81% to $252 million, beating the Street’s view of $244.2 million.

The company, which allows users to post professional profiles and network with colleagues and prospective employers, said it had 187 million members as of the end of the third quarter and its users are spending more time on the website.

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Meanwhile, LinkedIn hiked its full-year revenue view to $939 million to $944 million, up from $915 million to $925 million previously and above consensus calls for $933.5 million.

Management also now sees 2012 adjusted EBITDA of $202 million to $204 million, compared with $185 million to $190 million previously.

In response to the bullish developments, analysts at Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) hiked their price target on LinkedIn to $150 from $142 and maintained a “buy” rating. Cantor Fitzgerald maintained its “hold” rating but still upped its target to $125 from $120.

Shares of Mountain View, Calif.-based LinkedIn ticked up 2.13% to $109.13 in recent trading, leaving them up almost 77% so far this year.