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Wall Street Beat: Tech stocks jump as market indexes hit milestones

Marc Ferranti | May 6, 2013
On the back end of an earnings season that by many accounts could have been worse, tech investors appeared to be in the mood to celebrate on Friday, sending shares of IT companies higher as key stock-market indexes hit milestone highs.

"On desktop Web, most ads encourage you to visit a new website," said CEO Mark Zuckerberg, on the company's earnings call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. "On mobile, it makes sense that most ads encourage you to visit apps instead. And in order to visit apps you first need to install."

In the first quarter, Facebook's desktop ad sales dipped slightly from a year ago to about $871 million, so mobile is the future. Mobile ad sales now total 30 percent of advertising revenue, up from 23 percent in the fourth quarter.

LinkedIn's earnings, announced Thursday, at first blush looked strong. Revenue for the first quarter was $324.7 million, an increase of 72 percent year over year. Net income for the first quarter was $22.6 million, compared to net income of $5 million for the first quarter of 2012. But the online professional networking service forecast a slowdown in growth.

Like Facebook, LinkedIn is hiring more workers and investing in infrastructure like data centers. Also like Facebook, LinkedIn plans to insert more ads within the stream of personal updates for its members' pages, rather than displaying them on the sides. And like every other social networking site, it is focusing on mobile. During the quarter, the company updated versions of its iPhone, Android and Web apps to focus on content personalization.

LinkedIn said it expects second-quarter revenue between $342 million and $347 million, while analysts had forecast $360 million, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Yelp also showed strong gains in revenue and user numbers. On Wednesday, it said net revenue for the first quarter skyrocketed 68 percent year over year to $46.1 million. Its loss narrowed to $4.8 million from $9.7 million a year earlier.

Yelp pointed to several successes. For example, the number of average monthly users of Yelp's service jumped 43 percent year over year to 102 million, while active business accounts rose by 63 percent, to 45,000 businesses.

The company added search ads to its mobile application in the fourth quarter, and in the first quarter about 45 percent of Yelp searches originated on the mobile app, the company said.


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