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LinkedIn Earnings Blow Past Expectations; Shares Jump

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LinkedIn earnings beat expectations for the seventh consecutive quarter since going public in May 2011.

Shares of the professional social-media network jumped more than 10 percent after-hours. (Click here to track the company's shares following its earnings release.)

Net income jumped 60 percent to $11.5 million from $6.9 million in the year-earlier period.

Excluding items, the company earned 35 cents a share, compared with 12 cents a share a year ago.

Revenue jumped 81 percent to $304 million from $168 million.

Analysts had expected earnings excluding items of 19 cents a share on $280 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

In the fourth quarter, revenue from U.S. markets was $189 million. The U.S. accounted 62 percent of all revenue, down 2 percent from the previous quarter as international markets gained. Revenue from international markets was $114.6 million.

A star in the mostly disappointing social media sector, the company offered a bullish forecast for the first quarter as well, projecting revenue between $305 million and $310 million, above analyst estimates of $301 million.

LinkedIn, founded by former PayPal employees in 2002, remains one of the most profitable companies in the Internet sector, with gross margins of roughly 90 percent.

But analysts have begun questioning in recent months whether the company can extend its remarkable hot streak as it becomes saturated in some job markets.

In response to an inevitable slowdown in user growth, the company has sought to introduce some social media features to encourage visitors to click more on its site, such as personal blogs by successful business people like Sir Richard Branson, whom users can "follow."

OpenTable Beats but Outlook Falls Short

Restaurant-reservation website OpenTable also beat earnings expectations — in this case, for a third straight quarter — helped by an increase in the number of seated diners. The company reported fourth-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share on revenue of $43 million. Analysts had expected the restaurant-reservation web site to post earnings ex-items of 43 cents a share on $43 million in revenue. Revenue from seated diners rose 22 percent, while subscription revenue jumped 10 percent.

OpenTable's first-quarter outlook, however, fell short: The company expects adjusted earnings in the range of 39 cents to 44 cents per share on revenue of $44.7 million to $46.1 million. Analysts were expecting adjusted earnings of 46 cents per share on revenue of $45.8 million for the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters.

The company said in November it plans to increase its focus on mobile devices and expects the integration of its app within Siri -- the voice-control personal assistant in Apple's iPhone -- to help boost mobile reservations.

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