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LinkedIn shares soar after stellar results

The logo for LinkedIn Corporation, a social networking networking website for people in professional occupations, is shown in Mountain View,
The logo for LinkedIn Corporation, a social networking networking website for people in professional occupations, is shown in Mountain View,

(Reuters) - Shares of LinkedIn Corp climbed nearly 21 percent in midday trading on Friday on results that beat analysts' estimates for the seventh quarter in a row.

The social networking website for professionals reported on Thursday an 81 percent increase in fourth-quarter revenue and raised its forecast for the current first quarter.

Several research firms raised their price targets for the company.

"If execution continues, we struggle to see how margin expansion can't approach (and possibly exceed) 2012 levels," wrote Macquarie analyst Tom White in a note to investors.

White raised his forecast for 2013 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization margin to 25.4 percent from 24.7 percent.

In contrast to widely watched consumer Internet companies like Facebook Inc, Groupon Inc and Zynga Inc, all of which went public not too long ago, LinkedIn continues to trade well above its debut price of $45.

LinkedIn was co-founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman, who serves as the company's executive chairman. His stake in LinkedIn is now worth about $2.6 billion, according to company filings.

Shares of the company were up 20.9 percent at $150.00 on the New York Stock Exchange in early afternoon.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; editing by Matthew Lewis and David Gregorio)

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