LinkedIn 2Q Earnings, Revenue Top Wall Street Projections

LinkedIn's online professional networking service is still doing a good job of pleasing investors.

Wall Street gave LinkedIn its latest endorsement Thursday, driving the Mountain View, Calif., company's shares up 6 percent after it released its second-quarter results.

The performance burnished the impressive resume that LinkedIn has put together since going public two years ago. The company has delivered earnings and revenue above the analysts' projections that guide investors in all nine quarters as a publicly traded company.

LinkedIn supplemented that accomplishment by adding 20 million more registered users during the three months ending in June. That's the service's biggest membership gain in any quarter since LinkedIn's initial public stock offering in May 2011.

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. The company 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.

The strong financial and membership growth is likely to catapult LinkedIn's high-flying stock to new heights Friday. The shares added $13 to $226 in extended trading Thursday. That is more than five times LinkedIn's IPO price of $45.

LinkedIn earned $3.7 million, or 3 cents per share, during the quarter, from $2.8 million, or 3 cents per share, last year. The earnings per share figure didn't change because the company has slightly more stock outstanding this year.

If not for certain items unrelated to its ongoing business, LinkedIn said it would have earned 38 cents per share. That topped the average estimate of 31 cents per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue surged by 59 percent to $364 million about $10 million above analysts' predictions.

LinkedIn ended June with 238 million members, up from 218 million in March. Until the past quarter, LinkedIn's biggest three-month gain in membership had been 16 million.

The company's management forecast revenue of $367 million to $373 million in the current quarter, which ends in September. That's below the average analyst estimate of $384 million. Its revenue forecast for the year is also short of Wall Street's view.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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