Shares of Baidu
A few global consumer-facing Internet companies took off after a Wall Street Journal report claimed that Facebook was just days away from filing to go public. A successful debut in the coming months by the social networking behemoth should boost valuations for the sector -- or so the theory goes.
Baidu isn't a social network. Its bread-and-butter business is manning China's most popular search engine. It has several Web 2.0 initiatives under that realm, but it's certainly not the Chinese social networking play that investors will find in Renren
Renren runs the country's top social networking website. SINA operates the Twitter-like Weibo micro-blogging broadcasting platform. For those scoring at home, Renren and SINA shareholders were treated to 26% and 12% surges, respectively, on Friday.
The only real question is if Baidu will deliver monstrous growth or ridiculously monstrous growth when it reports in a few weeks. Analysts see revenue soaring 88% to nearly $700 million for the final three months of last year. They also see Baidu's earnings climbing 82% to $0.91 a share. Unlike global search leader Google
Bubbling expectations and a percolating share price can be a recipe for disappointment. Here is where Baidu will need to make sure that its numbers are closer to "ridiculously monstrous growth" than merely monstrous.
There will also be opportunities outside of the numbers for Baidu to impress or depress investors. Google has been hiring again in China, hinting at a renewed push for relevance in the restrictive yet promising Chinese Internet market. At the same time, Baidu itself is making its own plans to matter outside of China.
Things should get interesting tonight, and I know which side I'm on.
A bullish call on Baidu has served me well on Motley Fool CAPS over the years. True to the CAPScall initiative, I'm not going to give up on it now. Baidu has soared 1,458% since I recommended it to Rule Breakers newsletter subscribers six years ago, but now it's time to discover the next Rule-Breaking multibagger. It's a free report. Want it? Get it.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.
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