eBay Hits Q3 Targets, Gives Iffy Guidance

    October 22, 2009

eBay continued a trend started by Google and Yahoo in the sense that it beat analysts’ expectations while announcing its third quarter earnings this afternoon.  Unfortunately for the company, it broke with their tradition by issuing some rather weak predictions about the fourth quarter.

Let’s start with the stuff that’s in stone.  eBay reported $2.2 billion in revenue, even though analysts though it would post $2.1 billion and it reported $120.3 million less the same quarter last year.  It came out ahead in terms of earnings per share, too, posting $0.38 instead of the $0.37 analysts forecast.

John DonahoeThese results gave president and CEO John Donahoe some room to say, "We’re delivering on our commitments, executing on our plans and operating smarter and faster."

Here’s the problem(s), though.  Eric Savitz wrote, "For Q4, the company sees revenue of $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion; the mid-point at $2.25 billion is a hair below the Street at $2.26 billion. That suggests the company actually see a sequentially flat Q4, which is not a very encouraging view of the holiday selling season.  The non-GAAP EPS guidance for the quarter is for 38-40 cents; that puts the mid-point at 39 cents a penny below the Street at 40 cents."

And shareholders are not at all happy about those numbers, selling enough of eBay’s stock to send it down 5.46 percent so far in after-hours trading.