Up, down, all around: LinkedIn, RIM, Sony, Sharp

Tech companies see ups and downs:

LinkedIn, the online professional network provider, is seeing its shares soar today after it reported second-quarter earnings that beat expectations Thursday. The company cited strength in recruitment business and issued an upbeat forecast. Today, a strong U.S. jobs report for July seems to support that optimism.

Shares of LinkedIn are up more than 14 percent to about $106.75. They have a 52-week range of $55.98 to $120.63. LinkedIn’s earnings and performance on Wall Street had been the subject of many a comparison between the Mountain View company and other companies in the social-networking industry. Most notably, Facebook stock fell to record lows this week. But the Menlo Park company and the broader stock markets are seeing a healthy bump today on Wall Street after this morning’s U.S. employment news.

• Beleaguered BlackBerry maker RIM is rolling out an LTE-capable PlayBook tablet. Research in Motion is trying to stay relevant as its products fall out of favor in the age of Android smartphones and tablets and Apple iPhones and iPads. According to Reuters, the new PlayBook will launch in Canada next week and in the United States and elsewhere in the coming months. RIM introduced a WiFi-only PlayBook last year. Sales were so underwhelming the Canadian company had to write off nearly a half-billion dollars in unsold inventory. Since then, the company has replaced its longtime CEOs.

RIM will be introducing the new PlayBook in a tablet field that’s getting more crowded by the minute. Google‘s Nexus 7 is reportedly seeing healthy sales; Microsoft’s Surface tablet is expected to surface by the end of the year; and there are reports that both Apple and Amazon.com are working on new versions of the iPad and the Kindle Fire, respectively.

• Speaking of trying to stay relevant, put Japanese giants Sony and Sharp in that category. The Wall Street Journal reports that a combination of factors, including Japan’s economy, have the former electronics powerhouses in uncertain waters. One other notable factor: In the age of ever-increasing screen time, big-screen TV sales are suffering.

Sony on Thursday reported a wider quarterly loss; Sharp announced its first layoffs since the 1950s. Both companies saw big declines in the Japanese stock markets amid pessimism about their comebacks, according to Bloomberg.


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