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LinkedIn Projections Underwhelm Wall Street

Executives with LinkedIn offered an upbeat assessment of the company’s first quarter performance on Thursday, but both analysts and the market were unimpressed.

Shares in the company, which had been trading as high as $265 a little over a week ago, closed Friday at just over $205. Predictions for the stock’s performance over the coming year, which had included estimates in the low $300s, were slashed about $250.

The disappointment stemmed not so much from LinkedIn’s performance in the first quarter, which overall was about what the company predicted, but instead from the fact that company has relatively modest predictions of 26 percent growth in the next quarter. That would be LinkedIn’s lowest quarterly growth rate since going public four years ago, and well below the 35 percent growth that Wall Street analysts predicted.

Positive Trends

During a Thursday conference call with the media, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner offered a glowing assessment of the company’s performance.

“During Q1, cumulative members grew 23 percent to 364 million, unique visiting members grew 18 percent to an average of 97 million per month, and member pageviews grew 30 percent, well ahead of unique member growth,” Weiner said. “We continue to see a healthy increase in member pageviews per unique visiting member, demonstrating growing organic engagement. In addition, mobile continues to grow at double the rate of overall member activity, and now represents more than half of all traffic to LinkedIn.”

LinkedIn’s revenues rose 35 percent over the same quarter last year, from $473.2 million to $637.7 million. The company also experienced strong growth in its talent-solutions business, which grew by 36 percent.

A Tougher Second Quarter

LinkedIn CFO Steve Sordello told participants on the conference call that the lower 26 percent growth rate predicted by LinkedIn for the second quarter of the year stemmed from “three incremental factors: 1) changes in…

Apple Watches and Wrist Tattoos Not Meshing Well

Well, that inks. The newly released Apple Watch may be problematic for people with dark tattoos on their wrist, the company acknowledged after complaints from customers.

“Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings,” according to the official Apple Watch support page, updated on Wednesday.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

The issue comes down to light.

The Apple Watch’s green light sensor that tracks the wearer’s heartbeat needs to be bounced off blood flow for measurement, said Steven LeBoeuf, president of Valencell, which develops biometric sensor technology — though not specifically for the Apple Watch.

“The key to obtaining accurate biometric data in the wrist lies in the sensor’s ability to measure pulsatile blood flow in blood vessels less than 1 to 2 millimeters from the surface of the skin, while also rejecting noise,” he said.

Green light is considered safer because it does not penetrate deep into the skin. “But that’s its blessing and its curse,” LeBoeuf said. The green light, while less harsh, is easily absorbed by the dark ink.

“The darker the ink and the deeper the tattoo, the more problems you will have,” he said. Scars may also be a problem for some users because they pose a thicker layer to penetrate, he added.

A combination of green and yellow light wave sensors, and amplified blood flow detection, probably would fix the tattoo hurdle, LeBoeuf said. But until a new edition comes out, tattooed enthusiasts may be out of Apple time.