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We expect professional networking solution provider LinkedIn Corporation (LNKD - Analyst Report) to beat expectations when it reports third-quarter 2013 results on May 2.

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that LinkedIn is likely to beat the earnings estimate because it has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Zacks ESP: Expected Surprise Prediction or ESP (Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method), which represents the difference between the Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate is at +120.0%. This is very meaningful and a leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise for shares.

Zacks Rank #2 (Buy): LinkedIn carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Note that stocks with Zacks Ranks of #1, #2 and #3 have a significantly higher chance of beating estimates. The sell rated stocks (#4 and #5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement. 

The combination of LinkedIn’s Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and +120% ESP makes us very confident in looking for an earnings beat on May 2.

What is Driving the Better than Expected Earnings?

The company has been delivering good numbers over the last few quarters, driven by the increase in demand for their professional networking solutions, which provides added benefits to prospective employers and talent acquisition firms searching for skilled manpower. As a result, the Talent Solutions and Premium Subscription segments were have strengthened over the last few quarters. Moreover, the purchase of Pulse greatly improves its marketing efforts in the Talent Solutions business.

Other Stocks to Consider

LinkedIn is not the only firm looking up this earnings season. We also see likely earnings beats coming from these 3 industry peers:

AOL Inc. (AOL - Snapshot Report), Earnings ESP of +3.03% and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

Facebook Inc. (FB - Analyst Report), Earnings ESP of +12.50%and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

Paychex Inc. (PAYX - Snapshot Report), Earnings ESP of +2.70% and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)

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