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The Key Akamai Technologies Earnings Indicator To Watch

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Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) is set to post results Tuesday for the fourth quarter where hard-to-predict holiday factors are expected to play an outsized role.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based media delivery and Internet security services provider was little changed Monday, closing at $60.96. Since November, shares are up 1.3 percent.

"Holiday seasonality plays a large role in our performance" during the fourth quarter, according to Akamai's Chief Financial Officer, James M. Benson.

Benson told analysts in November that results for the quarter are driven by online retail traffic for e-commerce customers and traffic for large media customers. "As a result, it's the quarter most affected by the external macroeconomic environment, which remains hard to predict," he added.

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Also, unusually strong third quarter media traffic might result in a slow-down in sequential growth for the period, while foreign exchange pressure could put damper revenue.

The company has forecast Q4 revenue growth of between 20 percent and 25 percent, to between $515 million and $535 million, along with adjusted earnings per share between $0.61 and $0.66.

"If the holiday season is strong, we would expect to be near the higher end of the range," Benson said in November.

Wall Street expects earnings of $0.63 a share on revenue of $527.3 million. Akamai has beat Wall Street estimates in each of the past four quarters, most recently by a margin of 8.8 percent.

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