Why Zynga Shares Zoomed Higher

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA  ) soared as high as 14% today and have since settled into a 9% gain, after surprising the Street with unexpected positive earnings in its latest quarterly report.

So what: Zynga's fiscal fourth quarter saw the Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) -focused game developer turn in earnings of $0.01 per share on revenue of $311 million. Analysts had expected the top-line result but were looking for a $0.03 loss per share, so the positive report caught many by surprise. Zynga's bookings also declined at a slower rate than expected. Analysts were looking at a $212.1 million result there, but Zynga came in well ahead of that number with $261.3 million -- which is still a 15% decline year overyear.

Now what: We won't find out how much of Zynga's revenue came from Facebook until an official 10-K is filed with the SEC, but that number has been trending downward, from 94% in the third quarter of 2011 to 84% in the third quarter of 2012. Despite this positive surprise, Zynga's also anticipating bookings of $200 million to $210 million for the first quarter, and projects a $0.04 to $0.05 loss per share, both well under analyst projections of $232.5 million in bookings and a $0.01 loss. This is a more important number, and it shows that Zynga is hardly out of the woods yet. However, after a nearly 80% loss over the past year, beleaguered shareholders need whatever good news they can get.

Zynga's post-IPO performance has been dreadful, and investors are beginning to wonder if it's "game over" for this social gaming company. Being so closely tied to the world's largest social network can be a blessing and a curse. You can learn everything you need to know about Zynga and whether it's a buy or a sell in our new premium research report. Don't even think about picking up shares before you read what our top analysts have to say about Zynga. Click here to access your copy.


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