Updated from 2:53 p.m. EST
In another sign the tech boom has reignited,
moved to a new all-time high Tuesday on growing perceptions that online merchants will be the big winner this holiday shopping season.
With fellow bubble star
Research In Motion
surging next to it on the
, eBay shares were recently fetching $63.36, up 67 cents, or 1.1%. They went as high as $64.17 earlier, surpassing the zenith they reached at the height of the bubble nearly four years ago.
Year to date, eBay shares have gained 81%, leaving them trading roughly 86 times this year's Thomson First Call earnings estimate and 62 times next year's.
A report from Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings Tuesday said online shoppers spent $2.95 billion during the second week of December, a 48% increase over the same period in 2002. In total, online spending, excluding travel, is up 46% at $13 billion so far this holiday season, the report said.
Apparel, toys and video games have been the hottest Internet purchases, according to the report.
"Smart Internet retailers have minimized the barriers to online shopping, increasing their share of the shopper's total holiday budget and making it the preferred channel for many shoppers," said Lori Iventosch-James, director of e-commerce research at Harris Interactive. "With extended shipping deadlines, we expect this trend to continue as people want to avoid the late shopping crowds."
The report is based on a weekly national survey of between 800 and 1,700 online shoppers randomly chosen from Harris Interactive's survey respondents.
Meanwhile, SoundView on Tuesday increased its calendar-year 2005 price target on eBay to $75 from $63, based on its analysis of strong fourth-quarter listings data, and the belief that the company's long-term business drivers are in good shape.
SoundView expects listings to be up 59% year over year, and up 28% sequentially for the fourth quarter. The research firm raised its earnings estimates to 23 cents from 22 cents a share in the quarter. Analysts' consensus is for 22 cents a share in the fourth quarter.
"On our holiday conference call earlier this month, large eBay sellers indicated sales trends were healthy, with volume exceeding expectations in the fourth quarter, and were very bullish about growth in 2004," wrote analyst Shawne Milne.
Finally, Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto said eBay's total listings in the quarter rose 26% sequentially and 52% year over year, above his own estimates for a 21.5% sequential rise and a 51.5% year-over-year increase.
On Dec. 18, Noto had raised his fourth-quarter EPS estimate on the company to 22 cents from 21 cents.