Yelp Pulls a Twitter – Profits Instead of Losses!

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Yelp, Inc. (NYSE: YELP) was trading higher ahead of earnings, likely feeling some of the joy from the Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and Facebook earnings. Still, an 8.8% gain to $75.60 ahead of earnings is far from a normal pre-earnings day for most companies.

It turns out that Yelp is following Twitter – posting a positive earnings report rather than the loss that was expected by analysts. Guidance is also being lifted in a manner that seems reasonable enough.

Yelp’s second quarter earnings were reported as $0.04 in operating earnings per share and $88.8 million in revenue. Thomson Reuters had estimates at -$0.03 in earnings per share and $86.3 million in revenue.

Yelp also said that its cumulative reviews grew by 44% from a year ago to 61 million, and its average monthly unique visitors rose 27% from a year ago to 138 million. Unique mobile visitors rose by 51% from a year ago to roughly 68 million. Yelp said that its active local business accounts rose 55% from a year ago to 79,900.

As far as guidance for the third quarter, Yelp is targeting $98 million to $99 million – growth of 61%. Its EBITDA is targeted at $18 million to $19 million on an adjusted basis, representing growth of approximately 61%. Yelp has a Thomson Reuters estimate of $95.4 million in revenues.

For fiscal 2014, Yelp guided revenues to grow by 60% or so to a range of $372 million to $375 million and targeted adjusted EBITDA of $67 million to $69 million. Thomson Reuters is calling for Yelp’s revenues to be $365.9 million.

Yelp shares closed at $75.60 after an 8.8% gain versus a 52-week range of $40.38 to $101.75. The stock was initially up another 6% at $80.60 shortly after the report in Wednesday’s after-hours session.

As we pointed out, Wall Street analysts chased Twitter up handily after it reported earnings rather than an expected loss. We will look on Thursday to see if the same occurs at Yelp.

It would be easy to say that the difference in operating earnings GAAP earnings is not representative of true profits. The problem with that argument is that this has been the same manner of comparison for years and years. GAAP accounting should matter, but as a benchmark it just doesn’t. That being said, Yelp’s numbers are impressive – and impressive enough that investors want to chase it up even further.