Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) upgraded by Cantor Fitzgerald

Online review site Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) has been upgraded by Cantor Fitzgerald sending its shares up more than 4 percent.

Analyst Youssef Squali of Cantor Fitzgerald said in a note to clients that he was upgrading the stock to Buy while maintaining the target price at $24 a share.

The stock saw a sell-off after its disappointing first quarter results and its shares depreciated by a fifth. Squali attributes the negative sentiment in the stock to disappointing fourth quarter display advertising guidance, and not the company’s core local add business.

According to Squali, the lower than expected results was also due to “lack of focus and poor execution on the part of a handful of direct salespeople, which had out-sized impact on near-term results."

“Yelp’s brand, scale and strong network effect make it a clear beneficiary of the secular migration of local ad dollars online,” he writes. “While near-term results are likely to be somewhat suppressed (but accounted for in guidance), we believe Yelp’s local search opportunity remains compelling and intact over the intermediate to long-term.”

Yelp has been trying to address some of its concern areas. Sales and marketing expenses fell to 55 percent in the third quarter, from 64 percent a year earlier while there has been a 50 percent rise in its sales people and 80 percent rise in local advertising revenue.

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