Professionally social networking giant LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE:LNKD) is set to deliver earnings results for its second quarter on Thursday, August 4th. Ahead of earnings, Cantor top analyst Youssef Squali reiterates a Hold rating, with a price target of $220.00, marking a 14% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

For this upcoming second quarter, Squali predicts LinkedIn will bring in a 26.3% increase in revenue for year-over-year in the amount of $898.9 million and earnings of $236.8 million. Compared to the Street’s estimates of $898.5 million for revenue and $233.0 million for earnings, LinkedIn is currently looking to just barely beat expectation. The internet titan’s guidance ranges between $885 to $890 million in revenue and between $225 and $230 million in earnings. As far as NEPS, whereas LinkedIn has set a guidance between $0.74 and $0.77, the outlook falls below both Squali’s higher estimate of $0.81 as well as the Street’s projection of $0.78.

Microsoft just bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, significantly Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date. It is a strategically savvy move on Microsoft’s part, as LinkedIn’s core base of over 400 million professional profiles is ideal for integrating chief product Microsoft Office. Yet, with the positive influence of the deal, Squali remains neutral ahead of earnings, as he does not expect this second quarter to hinder the merger, nor does Squali anticipate another company will outbid Microsoft for the acquisition.  Squali notes, “Results should be driven by healthy demand for Talent solutions services and strong momentum from Sponsored Updates, somewhat offset by a drag from traditional display.”

For now, Squali is not worried about headwinds causing a decrease of 30% in traditional display advertising, as he believes “this negative impact will dissipate, leaving Sponsored Updates as the key segment driver.” The analyst expects increased momentum for Premium Subscriptions and remains neutral, with a side of bullishness as investors wait to see what becomes of LinkedIn in a post-Microsoft merger world.

According to TipRanks, Youssef Squali is a top, five-star ranked analyst. Squali has earned a high ranking of #5 out of 4,085 analysts. Presently, Squali upholds a success rate of 69% in the context of 478 ratings, with a solid average of 14.9% in his annual returns.

TipRanks analytics exhibit LNKD is a Hold. Of the 23 analysts who have offered recommendations on LinkedIn stock in the past 3 months, 9% rate a Buy, 87% maintain a Hold, and 4% issue a Sell. The 12-month average price target is $195.64, marking a slightly over 1% increase from where shares last closed.

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