Ahead of the Bell: LinkedIn's 2Q earnings due out

LinkedIn's 2nd-quarter report to test company's streak of topping analyst projections

Associated Press

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) -- LinkedIn Corp.'s second-quarter earnings report may catapult the online professional networking service's stock to a new high or push it back below $200.

The results, due out after the market closes Thursday, will probably have to handily beat analysts' projections to lift LinkedIn's stock beyond its previous peak price of $209.39 reached Monday. The shares closed Wednesday at $203.79.

LinkedIn has compiled an unblemished record of exceeding Wall Street's expectations since the Mountain View, Calif. company went public in May 2011. That track record has prompted analysts to ramp up their estimates, making it more difficult for LinkedIn to clear the hurdle.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet are predicting LinkedIn will post adjusted earnings of 31 cents per share on revenue of $354 million for the three months ending in June.

LinkedIn's success has increased its market value by nearly five-fold to $22 billion since the company's initial public offering was priced at $45 per share.

The networking service has thrived by establishing itself as the go-to place for employers to find talented workers and for people to get job tips and other advice to manage their careers. It doesn't cost anything for people to set up a personal profile anchored by their resume, helping LinkedIn attract 218 million members through March. Based on its rate of growth in past quarters, LinkedIn should have ended June with 232 million to 235 million members.

LinkedIn makes most of its money by charging employers, headhunters and perpetual job seekers fees to gain additional access to its member's profiles and other data. Some of those fees were raised in the second quarter, a change that should have helped to boost LinkedIn's revenue.

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