LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) is the social networking stock that just keeps on cranking out profits for its investors. Now that shares have risen to above $157 as of Tuesday’s closing price, this professional social media networking company is worth more than $17.2 billion. After a pair of positive analyst research calls on Wednesday, the value will be even higher.
A boutique investment banking and research firm named Wunderlich Securities started LinkedIn with a Buy rating. The firm issued a new street-high target price of $195 on the stock. Then that street-high target got trumped by an even higher call by Evercore Partners. While this was a reiteration rather than an upgrade, LinkedIn’s share price target was raised by Evercore Partners all the way up to $200 from $160. Note that the prior Wall St. consensus price target was about $154.75.
The calls today contrast with the trend at Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), where analysts recently downgraded that social media stock. LinkedIn shares are up 3.5% at $163.35, against a 52-week range of $84.10 to $165.20. Facebook shares are down about 2% at $26.80, against a post-IPO range of $17.55 to $45.00.
One portfolio manager was very cautious at the end of 2012. This came from James O’Shaughnessy in a “How to Get Rich Off of Obama” special edition from Fortune. At that time, he said that no matter how he cuts the numbers he cannot make a P/E of 600 and valuation of more than 12 times sales look good. That being said, we named LinkedIn as one of the top expected performers in the Internet space for 2013, and this stock already has gone way above and beyond the price and expectations of that time.
The stock market is casting its vote over which social media network matters more. The market’s vote: LinkedIn is for your money and how to make gains in your career, while Facebook is how to waste time and how to get fired from your job!
Jon C. Ogg