Today: LinkedIn announces membership has reached 300 million ahead of important earnings reports for Facebook, Zynga, Twitter and more.
The Lead: As social-networking reports near, LinkedIn hits milestone
LinkedIn announced Friday that it had surpassed 300 million members, another social-media milestone that arrives as Silicon Valley's social stocks suffer ahead of a raft of upcoming earnings reports.
LinkedIn's announcement noted that more than half of its accounts originate from outside the United States, showing the effect expansion is having for the Mountain View professional-networking service. The company also said that it expects its mobile traffic to account for the majority of visitors to its services sometime this year for the first time.
"Every day we see an average of 15 million profile views, 1.45 million job views and 44,000 job applications in over 200 countries through mobile," LinkedIn executive Deep Nishar wrote in Friday's announcement.
LinkedIn and other social-networking stocks have fallen into bear market territory in the past two months as Silicon Valley stocks that flew higher in 2013 came back down to earth. In the next two weeks, the most prominent social companies in the area will release first-quarter earnings results that could push them back up on Wall Street or validate their recent slide.
Facebook will kick things off Wednesday, sharing the earnings stage with Apple. The Menlo Park company is the largest social network in the world, with 1.2 billion monthly active users at the end of 2013, and has been on an acquisition spree in 2014 that includes the $16 billion acquisition of mobile messaging app WhatsApp and the $2 billion purchase of virtual-reality hardware company Oculus.
Facebook's slide into a bear market -- 20 percent lower than a stock's peak price -- has reversed itself somewhat, with shares closing Thursday at $58.94, 18.8 percent lower than the company's all-time high. The company's revenues soared 54.7 percent in 2013 to $7.87 billion, making it the 11th-largest technology company in Silicon Valley.
Former close Facebook partner Zynga will join in Wednesday's gaggle of earnings reports, hoping to reverse a slide in fans of its social games that has taken it from more than 300 million monthly active users to 112 million at the end of 2013. New CEO Don Mattrick has led a wave of layoffs and acquired a celebrated, mobile-focused game studio in hopes of building its user base back up with a focus on smartphones and tablets, including a mobile-focused FarmVille offering announced Thursday.
Zynga's revenues declined more than 30 percent in 2013 to $873.3 million, and its stock has pulled back since hitting 52-week highs near $6 in early March. Zynga closed Thursday at $4.29, 27.2 percent lower than the peak price reached just the month before.
The most volatile social-networking stock has been Twitter, which will announce earnings April 29. The company's stock shot up after its initial public offering and eventually reached as high as $74.73 on Dec. 26, but those prices have plummeted in 2014. The microblogging service -- which claimed 240.9 million monthly active users at the end of 2013 -- closed Thursday at $45.01, 39.8 percent lower than its peak price.
The only Silicon Valley social firm that could vie with Twitter for the "most volatile" would be fellow San Francisco company Yelp, which averaged 120 million monthly unique visitors at the end of 2013. Yelp's revenues jumped 69.4 percent to $233 million in 2013, and the online-reviews site's stock price rose along with it, topping $100 for the first time in early March. Shares closed Thursday at $64.87 after a steep fall of 36.2 percent from those triple-digit highs. Yelp will trot out its latest batch of financial data on April 30.
LinkedIn will close out social media's earnings season May 1. The company has long been a favorite of investors, who appreciate its ability to sell subscriptions to enterprise customers in human relations and other fields on top of a consumer-facing offering. The company's revenues gained 57.2 percent to $1.53 billion in 2013, and it hopes to add to its 300 million members by targeting China and other international markets.
Despite its popularity in the investment community, LinkedIn has not been able to avoid the recent bear market slide experienced by fellow social stocks. The company's shares closed Thursday at $175.42, 31.9 percent below its 52-week high.
Other prominent Web companies from Silicon Valley that have fallen sharply on Wall Street in the past month also have earnings reports on tap, including Netflix on Monday and Pandora Media on Thursday. Check www.siliconvalley.com for updates on these companies' financial performance, and use the SV150 online database to parse their previous financial performance.
SV150 market report: Markets closed Friday
Wall Street exchanges were closed for Good Friday, and will resume action on Monday.
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.