Apple Rumors; LinkedIn Leaps: Tech Weekly
By Chris Ciaccia - 08/04/12 - 9:30 AM EDTTheStreet) -- Last week was a busy one for tech earnings, with companies such as Apple
Even though Apple reported last week, the tech giant remained in the news for a variety of reasons. The iPhone 5 is reportedly already being tested in the "wild," even though reports say it won't be available until mid-September. There were reports last weekend that Apple had held discussions with Twitter. But an Apple investment or acquisition of the social networking site seems highly unlikely, because Apple previously has said it does not need to own a social network. There were also rumors all over the Internet and Twitter about the iPhone 5 costing $800 (it's unclear whether that was a subsidized or unsubsidized price), but analysts were quick to debunk them. Apple is currently engaged in litigation with Samsung in what some are describing as a "nasty" patent battle, but there are some juicy tidbits emerging from the case. Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of marketing, took the stand on Friday and said there were suggestions for Apple to make all sorts of crazy things, including a car. Shares of Apple closed the week up 5.2% at $615.70.
Shares of social network LinkedIn surged 16% Friday as the company posted strong year-over-year revenue growth in its second-quarter earnings report. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company reported second-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share on $228.2 million in revenue, an 89% year-over-year increase. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting EPS of 16 cents on $216.3 million in revenue. Revenue from LinkedIn's largest unit, Hiring Solutions, rose 107% year over year to $121.6 million. Third-quarter guidance was also stronger than expected. LinkedIn expects sales of $235 million to $240 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had third-quarter estimates of 16 cents a share and $236.1 million. LinkedIn also raised its 2012 revenue guidance and now expects its top line to range between $915 million and $925 million. Its previous guidance range was $880 million to $900 million. Despite Friday's massive rally, LinkedIn shares rose just 4.9% for the week to close at $108.51.
Yelp shares leaped higher thanks to stronger-than-expected second-quarter revenue. Yelp, which lets users find and review restaurants and other places of interest, reported a loss of 3 cents a share on $32.7 million in revenue, up 67% year over year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting a loss of 6 cents a share on $30.5 million in sales. Adjusted EBITDA, which the company says is a key measure of its business, rose to $1.6 million, up from $649,000 in the second quarter of 2011. The company said average monthly unique visitors grew 52% year over year to more than 78 million while active local business accounts grew 113% from the year-ago period. Yelp kept its third-quarter revenue forecast unchanged, but it raised its full-year revenue guidance. It now expects third-quarter sales between $34.5 million and $35.5 million. For the full year, revenue is expected to be between $135 million and $136 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect $35.5 million in sales for the third quarter and $135.8 million for the full year. Shares of Yelp ended the week up 20% at $23.40.
Facebook has been plagued by problems since going public in May, and shares finally breached the $20 level this week, as investors continued to dump the name. Suffering from IPO problems, weakening revenue growth and concerns about whether social media is a fad or a sustainable business model, Facebook and its shareholders have witnessed the evaporation of roughly $60 billion in market capitalization. Facebook shares were also hit by news that mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments, a large institutional investor in Facebook, has sold a significant stake. The Wall Street Journal, citing data from mutual fund tracker Morningstar, reported that 21 Fidelity funds sold more than 1.9 million shares of Facebook in June, with 16 of them selling more than 25% of their stakes. Shares of Facebook plunged 11% this week to close Friday at $21.09.
Despite positive reports from Yelp, Cirrus Logic and LinkedIn, not all the earnings reports were rosy, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed. Seagate Technologies
Next week is pretty light on the earnings front. Priceline.com
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