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Pisani: All Eyes on LinkedIn

Thursday, 19 May 2011 | 8:59 AM ET

Initial jobless claims were below expectations for the first time in weeks, but it has had little effect on stock futures.

Online professional networking firm LinkedIn priced 7.84 million shares at $45, the high end of the price range. I will have the CEO First on CNBC at 9:35 AM ET.

Elsewhere:

1) Once again, another high end retailer reports strong numbers: Williams-Sonoma reported earnings of $0.30, 2 cents better than expectations, revenues also above consensus. Same store sales were up 6.7 percent, well above guidance of 3 to 5 percent.

WSM has been a monster in the retail space, because they are extremely well managed and have managed to gain market share. They have been rewarded: since the 2009 bottom, the stock is up roughly 350 percent, and that may now be a problem: valuation is high. It's important that guidance was conservative: reaffirmed Q2 guidance, but it's below consensus, and full year guidance was raised to account for the two cents beat, but is also below consensus.

2) Discounter Ross Stores reported earnings a penny ahead of consensus but in-line with prior guidance. Same store sales were up a respectable 3 percent, Q2 same store sales are estimated to be up 2 to 3 percent. Full year guidance was raised to $5.16-$5.31, vs. prior guidance of $4.90-$5.10, but still below consensus of $5.41.

Operating margins were a record 13.7 percent. That is impressive.

ROST has a similar problem to WSM, even though they usually serve a different customer: the company is well-managed, has executed well, and the stock price reflects that: up over 160 percent since the 2009 bottom. Despite excellent numbers, don't be surprised if the stock moves down just on valuation and concerns about slowing growth.

3) Advance Auto Parts drops 8 percent after missing estimates ($1.35 vs. $1.38 consensus). Although margins improved, the auto parts retailer saw a disappointing 1.4 percent rise in comps. Despite the miss, guidance for the year is reaffirmed ($4.60-$4.80 vs. $4.69 consensus), but comps are seen growing at a low single-digit rate.

4) Buckle falls 6 percent after missing estimates ($0.71 vs. $0.73 consensus). Despite an 8.1 percent rise in comps and a strong 18.6 percent jump in online sales, margins for the teen apparel retailer narrowed slightly.

5) Big Lots plunges 10 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported that the discounter has decided against selling itself. The retailer had received offers from a number of private equity firms, but the bids were lower than it had hoped.

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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