(Reuters) - Shares of LinkedIn Corp rose 10 percent on Friday, after the professional networking company raised its full-year outlook helped by strong demand for its services that help corporations find and hire employees.
The strong results underline the success of social and professional networking sites, as investors watch closely to see if the model is sustainable before Facebook goes public in one of the most eagerly awaited initial public offerings ever.
LinkedIn, which makes money by selling services and subscriptions to companies looking to for new recruits, added 16 million members during the first quarter, taking the total to more than 161 million.
"We believe LinkedIn's member network is creating a pull that is solidifying its product set as a must-have for human resources professionals," Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Graham said in a research note to clients.
"These products appear to be in the early phase of a hard-to-stop penetration curve, lending high confidence to continued growth expectations," he said.
Graham, who is rated four stars by Thomson Reuters StarMine for the accuracy of his earnings estimates on LinkedIn, raised his price target on the stock to $135 from $95. StarMine awards five stars to the top 10 percent of analysts and four stars to the next 23 percent.
Analysts also expect the surge in mobile usage to drive up sales at the company, as more people log in through their smartphones and tablets.
"LinkedIn is disrupting both the online and offline job recruitment markets, and deeper corporate penetration and increasing member engagement will drive strong results going forward," J.P. Morgan Securities' analyst Doug Anmuth said.
LinkedIn -- started in the living room of ex-PayPal executive Reid Hoffman in 2002 -- said on Thursday it bought content sharing company SlideShare for about $119 million in a deal that will help its users upload and share presentations.
Analysts at Citigroup, Barclays Capital, BMO Capital Markets and Evercore Partners also raised their price targets on the stock.
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine, two analysts rate the stock "strong buy," eight rate it "buy," 11 have a "hold," and only one rates it a "sell." The mean price target on the stock is $108.47.
LinkedIn shares, which touched $120.62 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, were trading up 8 percent at $117.96.
The stock, which rallied after hitting a year-low of $56.15 late November, had touched a nine-month high of $110.61 on April 27.
(Reporting by Fareha Khan and Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Tenzin Pema, Sreejiraj Eluvangal)