Baidu — China’s answer to Google — will report its fourth-quarter earnings after markets close Thursday. Analysts expect earnings per share of $0.87 and fourth-quarter revenue to rise to $2.85 billion, slightly below the company’s revenue guidance, which was in the range of $2.864 billion to $2.950 billion.
Earnings per share, meanwhile, are expected to fall to $1.01, from $1.43 in the third quarter.
The company is coming off a better-than-expected third quarter where it beat on both the top and bottom line and reported a 36 percent rise in revenue over the same time in 2014. Baidu’s stock jumped 11 percent to 197.47 when it reported third-quarter earnings on Oct. 30.
Thursday’s earnings report will assume special importance as it is expected to paint a clearer picture of the company’s expansion in the online-to-offline market and provide vital clues to the state of China’s battered economy.
Over the past year, Baidu’s operating margins have declined as the Chinese search giant plows money into video content and on-demand services. The company is also locked in a battle with the Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings for Internet-based services such as food delivery and streaming video to banking and insurance.
Baidu’s Nasdaq-listed shares closed up 1.07 percent Wednesday, and jumped another 1.38 percent in after-hours trade. On the same day, Nasdaq closed up 0.87 percent. So far this year, the company’s shares have dropped nearly 14 percent.