Yandex: A Russian Search Engine For Profit Seekers

| About: Yandex N.V. (YNDX)

Our new stock idea is a speculation name, Yandex N.V., (NASDAQ:YNDX), which is a Dutch company but really a Russian Internet search engine firm. Yandex trades on the Nasdaq exchange when it hasn't crashed, at around $33. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a target price of $45. It is rated 'buy by 8 analysts, "strong buy" by 2, and "hold" by 2.

YNDX also offers search engines in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and with its latest deal Turkey. Ukraine and Russia currently have tense relations, Turkey and Russia are at loggerheads over Syria, and Belarus and Russia dispute pricing potash, so there are clear and present political risks. Yandex search is financed via advertising to computers, mobile phones and other digital devices. It also does money transfers in its homeland via a joint venture with Sberbank, called Yandex Money, of which it owns 75%.

YNDX has 61.7% of the Russian search market according to LiveInternet. It also offers cloud storage, 20 gigabytes free and more if you need it, at the rate of $1/month for 10 gb or $5/m for 100 gb, with a discount for annual payment.

Yandex reported second quarter profits of 2.9 billion rubles, up 47% from prior year. This equals $89.1 million or 27 cents US/share beating Capital IQ estimates by 6 cents/share. It also raised its revenue guidance for the year (in rubles) to 34-38% from an earlier estimate that revenue would rise only 30%. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a measure of cash-flow) rose 40% to Rs4.3 billion and operating profit 43% to Rs 3.2 billion. Earnings were enhanced by Rs 35 million because of the rise of the greenback in Q2. The CEO and co-founder of the firm, Ilya Segalovich, died in July.

Yandex has upwardly revised earnings and sales over the past year which also beat analyst forecasts. Brokers have now started to revise earnings forecasts up - and in one case down. But the Merrill "thundering herd" is positive calling YNDX the best idea in internet service firms against which it is trading at a discount.

In the year to March 2013 revenues grew 34% and gross margins 57%. Net margins came to nearly 34%. YNDX is not borrowing money to grow - it has no debt. It also pays no dividend. The forward price/earnings ratio (according to Thomson Reuters) is 25x or 80% of its growth rate. Its backward p/e ratio tops 39x. The market capitalization is $10.9 billion, not small-cap land, reducing the chances of a tech major acquiring YNDX.

Being from Russia and invested in the boondocks of Eastern Europe means YNDX is not closely correlated with other markets but it's risky and volatile in its own right based on the politics in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey, all troubled places. It also is vulnerable to generalized tech selloffs and Nasdaq risks.

Our biotech maven, who owned the stock for a couple of years, says it's now on a roll, with great momentum, up 52% year to date. MarketEdge says to put a sell stop at $27 to protect yourself. I don't like stops, especially not for Nasdaq shares whose after-hours pricing went wild last week after the shut-down. Pay $33 and change.

Disclosure: I am long YNDX. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.