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LinkedIn Plummets, Activision Blizzard Surges After Earnings

By Sam Mattera - Feb 7, 2014 at 11:20AM

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LinkedIn and Activision Blizzard are headed in opposite directions following their earnings reports. IBM lead the Dow Jones higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.09%) had risen a modest 56 points as of 11:30 a.m. EST. Among the blue-chip index's components, IBM (IBM 0.10%) was a notable outperformer, up almost 1% early in the session. Meanwhile, two other tech stocks -- LinkedIn (LNKD.DL) and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) -- were posting notable moves in the session following their earnings reports.

Jobs report disappoints
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. gained just 113,000 jobs last month -- far short of the 185,000 economists had anticipated. The unemployment rate, however, fell to 6.6% from 6.7%. A disappointing jobs report is, in general, a negative sign for the market, but a few things about this report may be seen as a positive. 

The labor force participation rate actually increased, suggesting that more Americans were working or at least looking for work. Moreover, of the jobs that were created, most were not part-time positions. And if the labor market is actually weakening, it may entice the Federal Reserve to relax its gradual reduction in stimulus measures, perhaps even ceasing its ongoing tapering efforts entirely. 

IBM said to consider selling chips business
The Financial Times reported that IBM is said to be considering a sale of its chips business, going so far as to hire advisers to assess the unit's value. IBM's recent earnings results have been lackluster. Shedding some business units could help shareholders. Last month, the company sold its server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion -- a move the market reacted to positively.

LinkedIn falls after earnings report
Unlike IBM, LinkedIn shares were down sharply by 7.3%. LinkedIn reported earnings Thursday afternoon, and the results didn't impress analysts. Earnings and revenue came in better than expected, but its guidance was weaker than many anticipated.

For the next quarter, LinkedIn expects to report revenue of $455 million-$460 million, far short of the $470 million analysts were looking for. For all of 2014, LinkedIn anticipates revenue of $2.02 billion-$2.05 billion, again short of analyst expectations of $2.16 billion. Even with Friday's drop, LinkedIn shares are still trading with a price-to-earnings ratio of more than 900 -- many times greater than the market. Investors willing to pay such a premium for LinkedIn shares must be anticipating rapid growth, which was why Thursday's forecast was so discouraging.

Activision Blizzard exceeds expectations
Activision Blizzard had a strong earnings report, and shares were up more than 14% early on Friday. Activision beat analyst expectations for revenue and profit last quarter, while offering a strong outlook for its future business. It also added subscribers to its World of Warcraft MMO, despite the fact that the game is nearly a decade old. 

Activision is working on a new first-person shooter franchise called Destiny. Activision's CEO believes Destiny will, when it goes on sale later this year, prove to be the best-selling original video game in the industry's history.

Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Activision Blizzard and LinkedIn. The Motley Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard, International Business Machines, and LinkedIn. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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