Social Sell-Off: How Experts Are Trading the Carnage

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By Michael Newberg

The Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) traded to its highest level ever last week, finally regaining the mark it last hit before the 2000 dot-com bubble burst. Underneath the tech landscape's facade, however, are massive cracks forming in the social media space.

After a slew of rough quarterly earnings reports, shares of social media stocks LinkedIn (LNKD), Yelp (YELP) and Twitter (TWTR) found themselves down by more than 20 percent on the week. Those huge drops have wiped out roughly $15 billion in market value from the three companies combined.

As investors indulge in a mass unfriending of social names, traders are wondering if it's time to pack it in, or will the huge sell-off present an opportunity to buy at a discount?

According to the "Fast Money" traders and Wall Street analysts, it still comes down to the fundamentals of each individual company.

Tweet This; Yelp! I Need Some Investors

Twitter's stock plunged around 20 percent following its early earnings release Tuesday, wiping out gains achieved in the past year. The move amounted to the microblogging site's second all-time worst day of trading, and the stock has continued to sink ever since.

Brian Kelly of Brian Kelly Capital said that while the drop presented an interesting trading opportunity, the company is still struggling with an "execution problem. It's probably going to be a quarter or two before this is an investment again," he said.

Triogem Asset Management's Tim Seymour was more bullish and said the Street isn't focused on the right areas when it comes to Twitter's growth prospects.

Seymour said initiatives like live-streaming service Periscope and a partnership with Google (GOOGL) should be given more time to play out. "Seventy-five percent growth is still much better than their peers," he added.

Social review site Yelp faced a similar fate as Twitter on Wednesday, when it sank by more than 15 percent after reporting quarterly revenue and guidance that missed analyst estimates.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney had called Yelp his top pick among small-cap internet stocks into earnings, but said on "Fast Money" on Wednesday that he'd have to "figure out" whether he'd be changing his tune on the name. By Thursday morning, Mahaney had downgraded Yelp to "sector perform" and slashed his price target by to $50 from $82 a share.

Steve Grasso of Stuart Frankel said Yelp's lack of a competitive advantage could be its downfall, as more players enter the online review space. "The barriers to entry are nothing here. Amazon's already there," he said.

Brian Kelly said not to buy Yelp's drop, and called the company "a broken story."

LinkedIn Not Connecting?

LinkedIn was the third social stock to suffer this week, sinking more than 25 percent on Thursday after giving weak full year guidance.

BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis said on "Fast Money" that nothing is fundamentally broken in the company, and that the stock tends to perform better in the second half of the year. But he added that he's not in any rush to upgrade his "hold" rating on the stock.

Regarding the social media landscape as a whole going forward, Jon Najarian of said the next few weeks of trading will be crucial. "You'll really know the party's over if they don't bounce," he said. "If they take another leg down, they're dead."
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