Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) will release its quarterly report on Wednesday, and investors are hoping for a nice recovery to what’s been a rough patch for the Chinese search giant. As competition has reared its ugly head for the first time in a while, shareholders have had to deal with the prospect of slower growth for Baidu earnings going forward.
Despite the competitive threats to its business, Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) remains the dominant player in Chinese search, and even with overall growth in the Chinese economy slowing, there’s plenty of room for the Internet space to keep getting more important to the emerging-market nation. Let’s take an early look at what’s been happening with Baidu over the past quarter and what we’re likely to see in its report.
Stats on Baidu
|Analyst EPS Estimate||$1.21|
|Change From Year-Ago EPS||(2.4%)|
|Revenue Estimate||$1.20 billion|
|Change From Year-Ago Revenue||39%|
|Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters||2|
Will Baidu earnings give investors a nice surprise this quarter?
In recent months, analysts have gotten more pessimistic about the prospects for Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) earnings, cutting their estimates for the June quarter by $0.13 and reducing their full-year 2013 and 2014 consensus by three to four times that figure. Yet the stock has rebounded from some substantial losses earlier in the year, bouncing more than 25% from its mid-April levels.
The causes of Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU)’s woes earlier this year reveal just how high expectations are for the company. In its first quarter, Baidu grew its revenue by 40%, with profits rising 9%. But the stock fell sharply in response because those figures weren’t enough to keep up with what analysts had projected, despite the fact that Baidu projected a big recovery in sales for the second quarter.
Most of the fears that investors have come from Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU)’s rising competition. Traditionally, Baidu’s partnership with SINA Corp (NASDAQ:SINA) Weibo has given the search star useful social information to augment its services. But with rival Alibaba having taken an 18% stake in Weibo three months ago, that partnership could be in danger if Alibaba’s use of Weibo information leads Baidu customers to advertise less. Meanwhile, the gains for Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (NYSE:QIHU) have continued, with the stock having almost quadrupled in the past year as the upstart company has achieved a 15.6% search market share. With its browser having about 25% market share, Qihoo’s growth prospects might be slowing down, but the network effects could continue eating away at Baidu’s leading position in the market.