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LinkedIn shares plunged after the social network for professionals shocked

Wall Street with a revenue forecast that fell far short of expectations. The stock sank to a three-year registering its sharpest decline since the company’s high-profile public listing in 2011. At least seven brokerages downgraded the stock from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’ or their equivalents, saying the company’s lofty valuation was no longer justified.

The professional networking service’s adjusted earnings and revenue beat Wall Street’s estimates for the last three months of 2015, thanks to strong demand for its hiring and recruiting software. Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn Corp. reported a loss of $8.4 million, compared with a $3 million profit a year earlier.  But it issued a forecast that was far below what analysts were expecting.

‘With a lower growth profile, we believe that LinkedIn should not enjoy the premium multiple it has grown accustomed to,’ Mizuho Securities USA Inc analysts wrote in a note. Mizuho downgraded the stock to ‘neutral’ and slashed its target price to $150 from $258.

Raymond James, Cowen and Co, BMO Capital Markets, J.P.Morgan Securities, RBC Capital Markets and Suntrust Robinson also downgraded the stock.

At least 22 brokerages cut their price targets on the stock, with RBC slashing its target by almost half to $156.

LinkedIn forecast full-year revenue of $3.60-$3.65 billion, missing the average analyst estimate of $3.91 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

‘This would imply that LinkedIn will grow around 15 percent in 2017 and 10 percent in 2018,’ the Mizuho analysts said.

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