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Shares of professional social networking site LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD.DL) are trading 14% higher around noon today after the company trounced Wall Street's expectations with an excellent fourth-quarter earnings report. Shares have reached an all-time high and are continuing to climb as of this writing.
Why it's happening
LinkedIn's fourth quarter saw $643.4 million in revenue and $0.61 in adjusted earnings per share, against Wall Street's expectations of just $617 million in revenue and $0.53 in adjusted EPS. The company's strong finish to the 2014 fiscal year helped push full-year revenue up to $2.219 billion -- a 45% uptick from 2013's results -- and drove adjusted full-year EPS 25% higher to $2.02. Both full-year results bested Wall Street's consensus, which had called for annual revenue of $2.19 billion and adjusted full-year EPS of $1.94.
On a GAAP basis, LinkedIn reported a fourth-quarter profit of $0.02 per share and a full-year loss of $0.13 per share. That loss was driven by stock-based compensation, which totaled $319 million for the full year, or roughly 15% of LinkedIn's total operational costs.
Looking ahead, LinkedIn now expects to earn roughly $0.53 in adjusted EPS for the first quarter on revenue that should range from $618 million to $622 million. Its full-year projections call for $2.95 in adjusted EPS on revenue in the range of $2.93 billion to $2.95 billion. LinkedIn's full-year EPS guidance is the only metric that comes in significantly ahead of Wall Street's estimates, which had called for just $2.73 in EPS for 2015. Analysts had expected LinkedIn's first-quarter revenue to come in at $645.7 million, and its EPS was projected to be $0.55.
Alex Planes has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends LinkedIn. The Motley Fool owns shares of 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.