eBay Investors Turn Picky

eBay posted better than expected third-quarter results late Wednesday, but investors sent the company’s stock lower after hours on earnings guidance that was slightly below forecasts.

eBay also announced that CFO Rajiv Dutta will become president of recently acquired Skype after his successor is named. Dutta will work with Skype CEO Niklas Zennstrom and eBay CEO Meg Whitman on the VoIP unit’s growth and integration across eBay and PayPal, and will remain a member of eBay’s executive management team.

The online auction king’s sales grew 37% to $1.106 billion in the quarter, beating analysts’ $1.08 billion forecast. Pro forma earnings of 20 cents a share met estimates.

“We saw very strong growth across every part of our business in Q3,” Whitman said in a statement. “It’s wonderful to see so much strength in our two largest marketplaces, the U.S. and Germany. We’re excited about the great momentum eBay and PayPal have going into the holiday shopping season.”

Indeed, it was hard to find a metric that didn’t grow by 30% or more in the quarter. U.S. marketplace net revenues grew 29%, international net revenues grew by 43% and payment net revenues grew 44%. Users, listings and volume all grew by more than 30% from the year-ago quarter.

eBay projected fourth-quarter sales of $1.25 to $1.28 billion, above $1.24 billion estimates, but said earnings for the quarter will likely come in at 21 cents, a penny below forecasts, doe to a 1-cent dilution from Skype. That lone negative might have accounted for the 6% drop in eBay shares in after-hours trading.

Analysts have been skeptical of the Skype acquisition, particularly given the huge premium that eBay paid for the company, but Whitman offered a forceful defense of the acquisition on the company’s conference call, calling the combination an “unprecedented opportunity” for global expansion.

Also after the close, Juniper beat estimates.

Stocks posted strong gains during the day despite a disappointing sales forecast from Intel , which ended down fractionally on the day, as investors keyed on falling oil prices and an upbeat Federal Reserve report on the economy.

The Nasdaq soared 35 to 2091, the S&P 500 rose 17 to 1195, and the Dow surged 129 to 10,414. Volume rose to 2.67 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.96 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 21-11 on the NYSE, and 19-10 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 74% on the NYSE, and 73% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 36-235 on the NYSE, and 46-144 on the Nasdaq.

Yahoo jumped 6.6% on better than expected results, and Motorola rose 4% after beating estimates and raising guidance.

Cymer , Stamps.com and Imation rose on their results, while EMC climbed 4% on its earnings.

ATMI , Entrust and Linear Tech fell on their results, and SanDisk declined on a downgrade.

News Around the Web