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One of the most closely watched earnings reports comes after the close Wednesday when Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) earnings for the second quarter are released.
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By Guest Admin, Contributing Writer, Money Morning -
The stock market today is down more than 200 points as China fears trigger a global sell off.
In mid-morning trading, the Dow dived 205.75, 1.39%, to 14,593.65. The S&P 500 slumped 25.78, 1.62%, to 1,566.65. The Nasdaq slid 50.78, 1.51%, to 3,306.47. The Dow and S&P are now off some 5% and 6% respectively from their all-time highs reached earlier this year.
Asian markets were clobbered Monday and European markets melted on increasing fears of a liquidity crunch in China. Major Euro indexes, off roughly 10% from their April highs, are officially in bear territory.
Today's moves continue the rollercoaster ride U.S. equities were on last week, with the Dow shedding 560 points, or 3.66%, over Wednesday and Thursday.
The blue-chip benchmark finished at 14,799.40, down 1.8% for the week, its worst week since April 19. The S&P 500 fared worse, slumping 2.1% last week to end at 1,592.43. The Nasdaq ended at 3,357.25, for a weekly loss of 1.9%.
The VIX, or the CBOE Volatility Index, soared 10.2% last week, ending at 19. Wall Street's "fear gauge" has risen four of the past five weeks, ever since Fed Chief Ben Bernanke's first mumblings about a probable winding down of stimulus.
Monday morning, the VIX jumped 2.14, or 11.23%, to 21.04, its highest level of the year.
Markets were goosed Friday after The Wall Street Journal's Fed watcher Jon Hilsenrath wrote that investors may be misreading optimistic messages sent by the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke as hawkish.
Also, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) analysts said their top recommendation for 2013 is still to buy stocks and sell bonds.
"We continue to expect the index [S&P] will close the year at 1,750, a rise of approximately 10% from today's top level. However, median historical drawdown episodes suggest at some point during the next six-months that the S&P may decline to mid-1,500s before resounding to our year-end target," Goldman's analysts wrote.
Further giving stocks a lift was a bullish statement to CNBC from renowned hedge fund manager David Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management: "All the concerns in the markets is because the Fed sees the economy stronger in the future. In fact, their forecast shows that they will wait until a lower unemployment rate (closer to 6% than 6.5) to raise interest rates. So they are a bit easier on the front...I obviously thought they should start to taper. [But] the bottom line when the dust settles [is that the] only one place to be [is] stocks."
Missing amid the numerous stock market milestones and seemingly unstoppable rallies since the start of the year is Facebook stock.
Tuesday marked the 20th consecutive Tuesday the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a gain. And, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, up 16.4% year-to-date, finished just nine points shy of its all-time high of 1,669.16 hit mid-month.
Meanwhile the Nasdaq, Facebook's (Nasdaq: FB) home exchange, has gained 4% in May and 16% this year.
In contrast, Facebook stock is down some 10% year-to-date.
One year ago, Facebook stock (Nasdaq: FB) made its trading debut in one of the most highly anticipated initial public offerings ever.
While it's okay to offer a congratulatory happy anniversary, it's been anything but a honeymoon for the company and investors.
Some 421 million shares were sold, raising $16 billion, giving Facebook a whopping $104 billion valuation.
Then the disastrous story began: Shares were priced at $38, opened at $40, and then, within 10 market hours after the pricing, Facebook stock flailed. Technical glitches at the Nasdaq caused a delayed open, late executions and reports, and mispriced trades.
Lawsuits are still pending.
Facebook stock rose nearly 3% Tuesday to come within $11 of its IPO price - but a disappointing earnings report could send shares plunging if the social media giant doesn't show healthy improvement.
One of the biggest things to watch when Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) reports Q1 earnings after the close Wednesday will be how the company is managing the transition to mobile.
A Facebook phone could be in the works, serving as the company's latest bold attempt to increase revenue and make money from its one billion users.
The social media giant sent out invites last week to a press event, "Come See Our Home on Android." Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) will host the event at its Menlo Park, CA headquarters Thursday.
Rumors state the mobile device will use customized software that's a version of Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android 4.2 OS. The software will dominate a user's home screen. Updates and information from a user's Facebook account will be posted constantly.
Industry insiders believe the company is working on the smartphone in collaboration with Taiwan's HTC. This is the second time the companies have collaborated on a Facebook-focused phone - with the first attempt only lasting a few months.
Could it be that second time's the charm?
LinkedIn Corp. (Nasdaq: LNKD) just reported fourth-quarter earnings that blew away Wall Street estimates, a nice addition to its already impressive resume -- and one that is making LNKD much more attractive than Facebook stock.
LinkedIn earned 35 cents a share, nearly triple the 12 cents earned in the same quarter a year ago. Net income soared 60% to $11.5 million, up from $6.9 million. Revenue jumped 81% to $304 million up from $168 million. Analysts were looking for 19 cents on revenue of $280 million.
U.S. markets accounted for 62%, or $189 million, of Q4 revenue. That was down 2% from the previous quarter. But international growth was robust, kicking in $114.6 million to LinkedIn's bottom-line.
CEO Jeff Weiner called 2012 a "transformative year."
"We have exceeded our own expectations by a wide margin," CFO Steve Sordello said during a conference call.
Shares surged $12.11, or some 10%, to $136.20 after hours Thursday following the report. The rally continued Friday with shares climbing another $26, or almost 21%, hitting an all-time high of $150.25 intraday.
Since its May 2011 initial public offering at $45, shares have more than tripled.
Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) stock has staged an impressive rebound in recent months after the company's disastrous IPO.
Since mid-November, the social networking giant's stock has gained more than 68%, going from a near-low of $19 to more than $32.
Investors will be watching closely when Facebook releases Q4 earnings after close tomorrow (Wednesday) to see if the company can maintain its momentum.
Expectations are high, as a bevy of analysts have upgraded their outlooks for the stock, though it is still trading well below its IPO price of $38 and its high of $42.
Wall Street projections are for Facebook to report earnings of 15 cents per share on revenue of $1.52 billion.