LinkedIn Jumps After Banks Predict Stock Gains

LinkedIn Corp., the biggest professional-networking website, jumped 11 percent in New York trading after Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and UBS AG began coverage of the stock.

LinkedIn rose $8.31 to $84.69 at 2:27 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock climbed as high as $86.50 earlier in the session.

The company’s initial public offering last month helped open the floodgates to a wave of technology IPOs, making for the biggest year in new Internet stocks since the dot-com bubble burst in 2000. LinkedIn’s large membership and fast growth make it an attractive company, Brian Pitz, a New York-based analyst at UBS, said today in a research note.

“LinkedIn could transform the hiring industry through viral growth of its already massive, socially connected platform,” Pitz wrote. “The size and attractive demographics of the users are a primary, fundamental competitive advantage for the company and it represents a significant barrier to entry for the competition.”

LinkedIn’s top underwriters -- Bank of America, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley -- all initiated coverage of the stock with positive ratings today.

JPMorgan predicts that the shares will climb to $85 in the next 18 months, while Bank of America has a price target of $92. Morgan Stanley projects $88. UBS, which also assigned a “buy” rating, expects the stock to increase to $90.

Today’s gains add to the stock’s 9.2 percent jump yesterday, marking the biggest two-day increase since the week of its debut.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zachary Tracer in New York at ztracer1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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