EBay tops holiday quarter forecasts on mobile boom

Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:43pm EST
 

By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - EBay Inc reported holiday quarter results that beat Wall Street expectations as the e-commerce company benefited from a boom in mobile shoppers, but it gave a 2013 forecast in line with analyst estimates, restraining share price gains.

The stock rose 1 percent to $53.43 in after-hours trading following the announcement.

Expectations were high ahead of the results because sales data from outside sources suggested strong sales growth from eBay's online marketplace and a solid increase in transactions processed by the company's PayPal payments business.

EBay's online marketplace, one of the largest in the world, has lagged behind the growth of e-commerce and Amazon.com Inc for several years. But under Chief Executive John Donahoe, eBay has invested to improve the buying experience by upgrading search capabilities and prodding sellers to provide more services such as free shipping and easier returns.

The explosive growth of mobile shopping and popular mobile shopping applications have also attracted millions of new consumers to eBay's marketplace and PayPal in the past year.

"These are great numbers," said Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management, which owns eBay shares. "The marketplace business used to be a noose around their neck, but now it's a key destination for people wanting to buy new goods as well as existing goods."

Amazon shares edged up less than 1 percent to $269.50 in after-hours trading, close to a record. The world's largest Internet retailer is due to report fourth-quarter results on January 29.

On Wednesday, eBay said fourth-quarter revenue jumped 18 percent to $3.99 billion. Profit came in at $927 million, or 70 cents a share, in the period. That compares with profit of $789 million, or 60 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.   Continued...

 
A general view of eBay headquarters in San Jose, California is pictured in this February 25, 2010 file photograph. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files