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Why LinkedIn Corp Is Poised to Bounce Back

By Brian D. Pacampara, CFA – Feb 26, 2014 at 9:12AM

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Does this analyst make a good case? Or is it just more noise from Wall Street?

While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking analyst upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.

What: Shares of LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD.DL) climbed about 3% in premarket trading after RBC Capital upgraded the online professional network from sector perform to outperform.

So what: Along with the upgrade, analyst Mark Mahaney boosted his price target to $250 (from $225), representing about 20% worth of upside to yesterday's close. While momentum traders might be turned off by LinkedIn's share-price weakness in recent months, Mahaney thinks that Mr. Market might be overestimating the risks surrounding its growth going forward. 

Now what: According to RBC, LinkedIn's risk/reward trade-off is pretty attractive at this point. As Mahaney noted:

Drag Issues have included: 1) overly aggressive Street estimates, 2) a heavier than expected investment outlook for '14, 3) a greater-than-expected slowdown in Talent Solutions revenue growth, and 4) uncertainty over Marketing Solutions format changes. The first issue has been addressed -- Street '14 EBITDA estimates have been reduced 11% since the beginning of this year. And we believe LNKD's '14 investments -- salesforce buildouts, product and market expansions, and acquisitions -- are coming from a position of strength against large TAMs. Our very recent proprietary work helps address Drag Issues 3 & 4.

When you couple that improving outlook with LinkedIn's still-sluggish stock price -- off about 20% from its 52-week highs -- it's tough to disagree with LinkedIn's upgrade.

Brian Pacampara has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends LinkedIn. The Motley Fool owns shares of LinkedIn. 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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