Shares of employment site Monster Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: MWW) were up big on Thursday, thanks to better-than-expected results. That could bode well for results due from LinkedIn Corp. (NASDAQ: LNKD) after the close. The results suggest there is room for several players and formats in online job recruiting and placement.
Monster Worldwide is slowly turning its operations around after business was sucked away by LinkedIn and others. Monster reported a GAAP loss of $20 million, or $0.21 per share, in the fourth quarter. That was an improvement from a year ago’s loss of $73 million, or $0.66 per share. On a non-GAAP basis, Monster earned 10 million, or $0.13 per share.
Revenue was $198.7 million, down from $211.2 million a year ago, but up from $197 million in the third quarter. The company said demand for its services was decent in the second and third quarters and accelerated in the fourth.
For the first quarter, the company sees non-GAAP earnings of $0.06 to $0.10 per share. That includes $9 million of stock-based compensation. The consensus analyst estimate is $0.06 per share. The stock is already ahead of the consensus price target of $6.86, and shares have risen 73% from their bottom on Oct. 9.
Monster was a high-flyer, with the shares reaching as high as $25.90 in 2011. It fell victim to the domestic and global recession that forced painful job cuts and, mostly, recently, the sale of its interest in a South Korean partner.
LinkedIn is expected to report $0.38 cents a share in earnings, up 8.6% from a year, with revenue jumping 44.2% to $437.8 million. The company provides a way for employers to look for and recruit staff and offers networking potential for workers.
Analysts expect LinkedIn to earn $0.47 per share in the first quarter, up from $0.45 per share a year ago.
Though the shares were up 89% in 2013, they have fallen nearly 15% from a mid-September peak of $257.57. They are up about 1.3% since Dec. 31. The consensus target is $262.73. The pullback appears to be an investor realization that early growth rates could not be sustained. The question now is when the growth will resume in a meaningful way.
Monster shares were up $1.17, or 19.9%, to $7.06 in mid-morning Thursday. They reached as high as $7.26, not far from the 52-week high of $7.30. LinkedIn shares were up $3.70, or 1.7%, to $218.06.