What: Shares of eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) were up 12.9% as of 12:20 p.m. Thursday after the online auctioneer reported better-than-expected third-quarter 2015 results.
So what: Quarterly revenue fell 2% year over year to $2.1 billion, translating to a 9% decline in adjusted net income from continuing operations to $529 million. Remember, both eBay Enterprise (the sale of which eBay's board approved last quarter) and PayPal are being reported as discontinued operations. And thanks to eBay's share repurchase efforts -- including $599 million to buy back 21.9 million shares in Q3 -- adjusted net income per share fell a more modest 6% to $0.43.
Analysts, on average, were expecting roughly the same revenue to result in lower adjusted earnings of $0.40 per share.
"We drove solid results in the quarter in which we completed a complex separation," added eBay CEO Devin Wenig. "We also marked eBay's 20th anniversary and made progress on executing our strategy to reposition the company to deliver stable and profitable long-term growth."
Now what: For the current quarter, eBay expects revenue between $2.275 billion and $2.325 billion, good for currency-neutral growth of 3% to 5%, and adjusted earnings per diluted share (from continuing operations) of $0.47 to $0.49. Curiously, though, consensus estimates called for adjusted earnings and revenue near the high end of those ranges.
For the full year 2015, eBay reiterated its guidance for 3% to 5% currency-neutral growth, but simultaneously increased its outlook for adjusted earnings of $1.80 per share to $1.82 per share. During the subsequent conference call, management partly credited the increase to a combination of their third-quarter outperformance and incremental planned share repurchases.
All things considered, there's no denying eBay has plenty of work to do to successfully return to sustained long-term growth. But in the meantime, this report was a solid step in the right direction. And it's especially impressive considering eBay achieved these results while simultaneously navigating its time- and attention-consuming business separation from PayPal. As long as eBay can continue demonstrating positive momentum going forward, I see no reason eBay stock won't do the same for patient investors.
Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends eBay and PayPal Holdings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.