eBay Shares Plunge on Disappointing Earnings

Shares of online auctioneer eBay Inc. were taking it on the chin in midday trading Wednesday following disappointing earnings. eBay’s plight appeared to be scaring investors away from the sector as other leaders will soon report their latest results.

Just before noon, internet.com’s Internet Stock Index had fallen 14.66, or 2.66 percent, to 536.79, the Nasdaq Composite was off 16.81 to 2,794.66 and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 15.19 to 10,317.32.

Leading the downward trend was eBay (EBAY) which had plunged 13-15/16 to 138-1/16. The company late Tuesday reported a third-quarter profit of $1.35 million, or 1 cent a share, up from $461,000, or break-even, a year ago. Before one-time charges, the company earned 2 cents a share, in line with analysts’ estimates.

A number of analysts made moves following the announcement. First Union cut its fiscal 2000 estimates to 30 cents a share from 40, Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown downgraded eBay from “buy” to “market outperform,” and Morgan Stanley reiterated its “outperform” on eBay.

Morgan’s Mary Meeker said Wednesday dips in several Internet leaders, including America Online Inc. (AOL), Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and eBay represent possible buying opportunities.

America Online was up 5/16 to 117-1/16, Yahoo! had slumped 4-3/16 to 175 and Amazon was down 4-7/16 to 76-13/16.

Amazon will be the next Internet leader to report earnings, scheduled after Wednesday’s closing bell. Analysts are expecting a loss of 28 cents a share.

Other leaders falling included BroadVision Inc. (BVSN), off 3-7/16 to 59-9/16, CMGI Inc. (CMGI) had fallen 2-5/16 to 101-1/4, Doubleclick Inc. (DCLK) had tumbled 3 to 125, Etoys Inc. (ETYS) was off 2-13/16 to 75 and Inktomi Corp. (INKT) had lost 8 to 94-3/4.

Lycos Inc. (LCOS) was off 1-5/16 to 52-11/16. CS First Boston reiterated its buy on the stock Wednesday.

One day after announcing its merger with Interactive Pictures, bamboo.com Inc. (BAMB) was up 5/16 to 17-5/16. Dain Rauscher Wessels downgraded the stock Wednesday to “neutral” from “buy.”

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