Zacks Equity Research

About the Author Zacks Equity Research brings the decades of study and stock picking expertise of Zacks Investment Research to individual investors. Now, you don't need to be an investment bank or brokerage firm to get the professional power of Zacks' research. It's all available on Learn more about Zacks' history and company on our website.

Zacks Updates: Facebook Inc (FB), Peabody Energy Corporation (BTU), Sunedison Inc (SUNE), LinkedIn Corp (LNKD)

Facebook Inc

Instagram seems to have taken a cue from its parent company Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and is testing a new algorithmic feed in which posts will be displayed as per relevance.

In a blog post, Instagram said that with the increasing popularity of the app, it is getting difficult for users to keep a track of all photos and video shared on the app.  Instagram also revealed that users missed a startling 70% of their feeds, leading Instagram to stress on improvising the user experience. The photo sharing app is currently testing the algorithm on a selected few users’ profiles.

Instagram also said that sorting posts as per relevance will take into consideration users’ “likelihood of interest in the content” along with “relationship with the person posting and timeliness of the post”.

Facebook tested same algorithm for its flagship app in 2009 through which users could find all their posts but not in the traditional reverse chronological order. It was met with severe criticism. More recently, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) also changed the way it displays feed, angering a sizable section of its users. It remains to be seen how Instagram users react to the change.

However, The New York Times quoted Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom saying “if it’s one thing we do really well as a company, it’s that we take big change slowly and deliberately and bring the community along with us. It’s not like people will wake up tomorrow and have a different Instagram.”

Analysts observe that social media companies have to find newer ways to manage feeds given the huge data content “flowing through the networks on a minute-by-minute basis.” They also point out that although feed based networks have become the norm in the past few years, reinvention is a must to stay relevant in the market, especially amid stiff competition offered by new entrants like Snapchat.

Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 and now the photo sharing app boasts over 400 million strong user base. Moreover, as per an eMarketer report, Instagram is likely to witness 15.1% growth in 2016 compared with 3.1% growth projected for the entire social media sector. Moreover, over the next four years, the service will add 26.9 million users with two third millennial smartphone users alone in the U.S logging into Instagram by 2019.

Instagram is emerging as an important cash cow given its growing user base. Last year, Instagram opened its self-service ad platform to worldwide advertisers and the response was overwhelming. This year, eMarketer expects Instagram to contribute 9.5% of Facebook’s total mobile ad revenues in 2016 with share growing to 14% in 2017.

Peabody Energy Corporation

Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) said there is “substantial doubt whether we will be able to continue as a going concern” in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and that its current operating plan reflects continued sustained losses and negative cash flow from operations from 2015 and into this year.

The company also said it is holding discussions with lenders about possible debt-for-equity swaps or new financing; it will exercise the 30-day grace period in regards to a $21.1 million interest payment due on March 15 on its 6.5% notes due in September of 2020, as well as a $50 million interest payment due on March 15 on its 10% senior secured second lien notes due on March 2022.

Peabody has reported four consecutive yearly losses. In 2015, the company posted a net loss of $2 billion and a 17% drop in revenue to $5.6 billion.

Coal is quickly losing ground to cleaner energy alternatives. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the commodity only generated 33% of U.S. electricity in 2015, a 39% drop from 2014 usage.

Sunedison Inc

On Wednesday, shares of struggling solar energy company Sunedison Inc (NYSE:SUNE) are down over 8% in mid-morning trading after the company said it will delay again the filing of its annual report.

According to a statement, the company said the further delay is “due to the identification by management of material weaknesses in its internal controls over financial reporting,” which are causing management to put “additional procedures” into practice to complete the company’s 2015 financial statement.

Weaknesses include “deficient information technology controls in connection with newly implemented systems.”

The deadline of SunEdison’s report had already been extended to March 15 while the company conducted an internal investigation into the accuracy of its expected financial state.

SunEdison’s yieldco, TerraForm Power Inc (NASDAQ:TERP), also announced today that it will be delaying its filing of its 2015 financial report. The company said its delay is “principally due to the need to complete all steps and tasks necessary to finalize our annual financial statements and other disclosures.” TERP stock is also down today, having fallen 4.46% since market open.

SUNE stock bounced back slightly last week, trading up after the company terminated its acquisition deal of fellow solar energy producer Vivint Solar Inc (NYSE:VSLR).

LinkedIn Corp

On Wednesday, shares of professional social networking site LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) are down 5.66% in midday trading after its stock was downgraded by Morgan Stanley to “Equal-Weight” from “Overweight.”

The firm believes the company faces numerous headwinds in the near future, and a slowdown in growth in enterprise and online talent solutions, with analysts saying “LinkedIn isn’t likely to be as big of a platform as we previously thought.”

In a note to investors, the team of analysts wrote that while they had been bullish on the stock in the past, LinkedIn had “potentially hit a wall with large enterprise customers.” Some of the company’s major products also seemed to be facing slower growth according to figures from its Q4 earnings.

“LinkedIn’s ability to re-accelerate Talent Solutions growth and/or deliver better than expected results in B2B advertising, Lynda or Sales Navigator could reinvigorate investors and drive the stock back toward our bull case valuation ($200/share),” the analysts continued. “That said, continued faster than expected deceleration and/or mis-execution will likely cause the stock to be range-bound (best case) or trend toward our bear case valuation ($60/share).”

Morgan Stanley also cut its price target for LinkedIn to $125 from $190.

LNKD stock is now trading 60% below its all-time high of $276.18 on February 26, 2015.




Stay Ahead of Everyone Else

Get The Latest Stock News Alerts