Shares of eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY ) dipped last night, even though the company's quarterly report wasn't necessarily a stinker.
Sure, it's disappointing to see the online marketplace giant deliver guidance for the current quarter below Wall Street's consensus. It may appear to be a letdown to see revenue not keep pace with transactional volume. Net margins also could have done a better job.
However, put it all together, and it's great to see eBay growing again.
Let's dive into the numbers. Revenue grew by 18% to nearly $2.2 billion if we exclude Skype. Non-GAAP earnings of $0.42 a share are just 8% higher than the $0.39 a share posted a year ago, but analysts were settling for an adjusted profit of $0.41 a share.
PayPal was a stallion, again. Revenue rose by 26%, fueled by a 35% spike in total payment volume to $21.3 billion. This is a niche that eBay owns practically uncontested. Visa (NYSE: V ) announced a $2 billion deal for CyberSource (Nasdaq: CYBS ) yesterday to gain a bigger foothold in online transactions, but that isn't going to get in the way of PayPal's consumer and merchant dominance.
Besides, we're not seeing PayPal slow down since American Express' (NYSE: AXP ) recent acquisition of Revolution Money. If banking heavies Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) and Citigroup's (NYSE: C ) C2it couldn't vanquish PayPal while it was still in the crib several years ago, it's hard to fathom any financial-services juggernaut unseating PayPal.
Things also aren't going so shabby at eBay's flagship marketplace business, with revenue clocking in 13% higher. $13.4 billion worth of goods were swapped through eBay's sites, a 24% boost over the past year. The acquisition of Gmarket, favorable foreign currency translations, and its free, ad-supported online classifieds helped pad results, but at least eBay's marketplace business has now posted back-to-back quarters of year-over-year gains on the top line.
Growth-stock investors with an appetite for auction stocks will undoubtedly be won over by headier gains that Latin America's MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI ) is likely to deliver next month, but eBay's the one that can be had at just 15-16 times this year's projected non-GAAP earnings.
If everything is so rosy, why is the stock taking it on the chin?
Well, eBay expects to earn an adjusted $0.37 to $0.39 a share this quarter on $2.15 billion to $2.2 billion in revenue. That's both a sequential retreat and just short of where Wall Street is perched.
So? Haven't we learned how eBay works by now? Despite meandering through the recession, eBay has found a way to now beat analyst estimates in 15 consecutive quarters. Unless the economy sours between now and June, my money's on seeing eBay stretch its streak to 16 consecutive quarters of landing slightly ahead of the pros.
What did you think of eBay's report? Share your perspective in the comments box below.