EBay Earnings Tumble; Outlook Disappoints

EBay posted a lower fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday and gave a disappointing forecast for the current quarter as consumer spending slows, sending its shares down 6.3 percent.

Net profit in the fourth quarter, usually eBay's strongest due to holiday sales, fell to $367 million, or 29 cents per share, from $531 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 7 percent to $2.04 billion, below the $2.11 billion expected by Wall Street.

Excluding charges from a 10 percent staff reduction last fall and other restructuring costs, earnings per share were 41 cents, at the top of eBay's own forecast, and beating the Wall Street view of 39 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.


Shares of eBay , which finished the regular Nasdaq trading session almost 6 percent higher at $13.28, were down about 6 percent in late trading.

But the online auctioneer posted a 16 percent decline in revenue for its key marketplaces business.

EBay, whose shares are down 56 percent from a year ago, has faced an uphill battle trying to stimulate growth in its marketplaces unit in the midst of a global economic downturn, while confronting rivals such as Amazon.com and craigslist.com.

For the fiscal 2009 first quarter, eBay expects adjusted earnings of 32 cents to 34 cents on revenue of $1.8 billion to $2.05 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings per share of 40 cents.

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