EBay Grows 1Q Earnings But Outlook Falls Short

By BARBARA ORTUTAY

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ EBay's high-flying stock price declined in after-hours trading Wednesday after the e-commerce bellwether's outlook for the current quarter fell below Wall Street's expectations.

The company grew its earnings and revenue in the first quarter, as shoppers continued to flock to eBay.com and other sites and mobile apps, to buy everything from cars to handbags to wedding rings. EBay's payments unit, PayPal, continued its fast-paced growth and expansion beyond the Web. People can now use their PayPal accounts to make purchases in some brick-and-mortar stores. Nonetheless, eBay's revenue, along with its guidance for the current quarter, fell shy of Wall Street's expectations â¿¿ though its full-year guidance stayed unchanged.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company's stock dropped by $1.60, or 2.9 percent, to $54.50 in after-hours trading. The stock closed down 91 cents at $56.10 in the regular session amid a broad market decline. That is up 10 percent since the start of the year and more than 55 percent from a year ago.

EBay's 2013 earnings forecast surpassed and revenue outlook met Wall Street's expectations, indicating that the second half of the year could be stronger than the first. EBay also recently issued an upbeat long-term forecast, saying it expects revenue to hit as much as $23.5 billion in 2015, up from 67 percent from $14.1 billion in 2012.

President and CEO John Donahoe said he wouldn't call eBay's second-quarter guidance cautious, adding that it's "highly consistent with what we thought."

"Expectations got a bit ahead of themselves," Donahoe said in a phone interview.

The company's business in Europe was "modestly softer" than expected amid the economic uncertainty there, Donahoe said, while the U.S. was slightly stronger than expected.

EBay said revenue at PayPal grew 18 percent to $1.55 billion and ended the quarter with 128 million registered accounts, up 16 percent from a year earlier. Its marketplaces unit, which includes eBay.com, grew revenue by 13 percent to $1.96 billion and ended the quarter with 116 million active users, an increase of 13 percent.

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