How High Can eBay Fly?

Shares of eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY  ) hit a 52-week high today. Let's look at how it got here and whether clear skies are ahead.

How it got here
Online retail has been the clear winner so far in the holiday shopping season. According to comScore, e-commerce retail spending grew 26% to $1 billion on Black Friday alone. One of the big winners in growing e-commerce is eBay, not only with its retail business, but also with PayPal.

Last quarter's net revenue grew 15% to $3.4 billion and income jumped 22% to $597 million. Payments led the way. Total payment volume jumped 20% and the company's merchant services rose 23%.

This has translated to a nice stock return compared to the competition. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) leads the way in the online space but eBay has easily outperformed Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO  ) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) over the past five years.

EBAY Total Return Price Chart

EBAY Total Return Price data by YCharts.

But when we look at some of the key fundamentals of eBay and the competition, there's still room for the stock to run. Amazon provides more growth, but every other metric makes eBay look like a steal. Google is comparable in many ways, although it has many different markets.

 

Price/Book

Revenue Growth

Profit Margin

Return on Assets

Forward P/E

eBay

3.4

14.8%

28.5%

6.1%

19.2

Amazon

15.1

26.9%

0.1%

1.6%

142.7

Yahoo!

1.4

(1.2%)

79.9%

2.8%

16.4

Google

3.3

45.1%

22.2%

10.5%

15.0

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

If you think that e-commerce will continue to grow rapidly, I would argue that eBay is the way to play it.

What's next?
The big question is whether or not eBay can continue to hit new highs from here.

The company's planned reorganization of PayPal is a bit troubling considering the growth we've seen in the payment space. I think this business will continue to grow, but why lay off workers?

There are better online retailers out there, but eBay has the advantage of growing with its suppliers without having to invest in inventory and warehouses like Amazon does. I think this will help the business continue to grow, although not spectacularly.

All in all, I think eBay is still priced to outperform the market and, unless Amazon can turn operations around, I think it can outperform rivals. The CAPS community has also given the stock four stars so there's a big backing for this e-commerce company.

A closer look at e-commerce
Everyone knows Amazon is the big, bad wolf in the retail world right now, but at its sky-high valuation, most investors are worried it's due for a correction. We'll tell you what's driving the company's growth, and how to know when to buy and sell Amazon in our new premium report. Our report also has you covered with a full year of free analyst updates to keep you informed as the company's story changes, so click here now to read more.

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