eBay Shocks The Street

Shares of eBay plunged more than 10% in after-hours trading Wednesday after the company’s earnings came in shy of Wall Street estimates.

eBay’s fourth-quarter earnings of 33 cents a share missed analysts’ estimates by a penny, a rare miss for the online auction king. Sales rose 44% to $935.8 million, ahead of $934.36 million forecasts. The company also announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

eBay’s guidance also disappointed. The company said it expects first-quarter earnings of 34-35 cents a share on sales of $1.01-$1.03 billion, both below forecasts. eBay also announced plans to increase investment in China.

eBay’s disappointing results and guidance, coupled with the company’s recent decision to raise rates, is likely to raise questions about the company’s growth rate, as competitors like Overstock.com begin to make inroads into the online auction market.

Also after the close, Qualcomm warned, and Symantec and QLogic beat estimates. Macromedia raised guidance.

Stocks plunged during the day, as better than expected results from IBM and Yahoo did little to calm fears about earnings and interest rates. IBM and Yahoo shares lost 2% each on the day.

The Nasdaq tumbled 32 to 2073, the S&P 500 lost 11 to 1184, and the Dow fell 88 to 10,539. Volume declined to 1.5 billion shares on the NYSE, but rose to 2.24 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 20-12 on the NYSE, and 21-9 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 75% on the NYSE, and 80% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 157-13 on the NYSE, and 74-26 on the Nasdaq.

Lucent fell 8% after the company missed revenue guidance. Motorola and Juniper fell on their results.

Check Point rose 4% on better than expected results, while AMD was unchanged on its results.

Rambus plunged 16% after the company missed estimates.

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