Shares in EBay rose 15 per cent in Thursday morning trading. The jump came the day after the online auction site delivered a powerful rebuke to the Wall Street critics when it reported earnings for the second quarter well in excess of its own and market estimates.
Coming less than a month after the online auction company's tenth anniversary, the numbers suggested that the most consistently successful company of the internet's first decade had recovered from its first stumble and still faces markets that are largely untapped, particularly in international ecommerce and online payments.
EBay stumbled at the end of last year as growth in its more mature markets slowed and marketing costs climbed, prompting speculation that ecommerce has entered a new, slower phase of expansion.
The latest rebound in growth proved that the eBay marketplace and the company's PayPal online payment system are “incredibly responsive platforms” that can be adapted fast to changing market conditions, said Meg Whitman, chief executive officer.
In the latest quarter, the company said it had reinstilled growth in the US and Germany its biggest markets while also lifting the growth rate of PayPal.
In the US, revenue growth rebounded to 27 per cent, up from 20 per cent in the first three months of the year, despite adverse publicity that has centred on an unpopular fee increase earlier this year and the growing risk from fraud.
Germany, the company's second-biggest market, also showed “excellent momentum”, said Ms Whitman, with an increase in growth, though no details were disclosed. PayPal, meanwhile, saw its revenues jump by 51 per cent.
The higher growth rates came without the sort of jump in marketing costs that were seen at the end of last year. Along with a lower loss rate at PayPal, this contributed to earnings that were well ahead of estimates. eBay also raised its revenue and earnings guidance for the rest of this year, lifting its forecast of pro forma earnings per share for the full year to 82-83 cents, up from a previous forecast of 76-78 cents.
During the second quarter, total revenues rose by 40 per cent to $1.086bn, some $50m higher than the market had expected, while pro forma earnings per share the yardstick Wall Street uses to measure the company jumped to 22 cents a share, comfortably ahead of the expected 18 cents a share.
Net income on a reported basis climbed by 54 per cent to $292m, or 21 cents a share.