eBay Joins the Split Craze

The company announces a 3-for-1 split alongside earnings. Also, news from SAP and Yahoo.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Just-reported earnings by

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

surprised to the upside. The company also announced a 3-for-1 stock split that only adds to the split mania that has swept Wall Street.

eBay reported earnings of 7 cents a share excluding charges, besting the 4-cent estimate from

First Call

. Registered users numbered 2.1 million in the fourth quarter vs. 1.2 million in the third quarter, eBay noted.

The company's stock closed 3 points higher at 220 7/8. It joins

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

and

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

in announcing splits today and follows recent splits by

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

and

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

.

Also reporting Tuesday after the close of the market,

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

surprised analysts by reporting a narrower-than-expected loss. The virtual book retailer said it recorded $253 million in fourth-quarter revenues, compared with $66 million for a year earlier. The company lost 14 cents a share, much better than the 18-cent loss expected by analysts polled by First Call.

In after market trading,

CNBC

reported Amazon traded 8 1/2 higher at 123 1/2.

SAP Slows

Just what

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

investors had dreaded has come to pass: Sales at the German business-software giant slowed dramatically in its fourth quarter. But CFO Kevin McKay insists the company is back on track and expects to double its sales in three years.

Such assurances were enough to push SAP shares up 14% to 37.

SAP said Tuesday that fourth-quarter sales rose 18% to 2.59 billion marks from the same quarter a year ago, down from a 41% increase in sales for all of 1998. SAP didn't give a profit figure for the quarter but said it earned $6 a share in 1998, up 14% from 1997.

The company had warned on Jan. 5 of slower earnings growth, leading some analysts to downgrade the stock. Today, SAP said sales were hurt by a 22% drop in the Asia-Pacific region and that costs grew faster than sales in 1998, rising 51%.

Though McKay predicts Asia-Pacific will continue to depress earnings in 1999, he says strength in the Americas and Europe should pick up the slack. "We've said that we expect the company to grow about 25% per year on average, and that is off a very large base," McKay told

TSC

. "Asia-Pacific is hard to predict, but we see a slow recovery." McKay sees revenues from Asia-Pacific remaining flat to only slightly positive in 1999.

A line of new products will also help boost profits this year. McKay says the supply-chain software SAP rolled out at the end of 1998 will generate an estimated 30% of SAP's revenues in the next three years. In addition, SAP plans to launch software in the second half of 1999 to help companies automate marketing, customer relations and services management, he says.

Yahoo Far From Dead

While not left for dead or in need of a handout, there must have been some concern when Yahoo lost nearly half its value in little more than a week this month. But since slipping just below 250 last Thursday, Yahoo has climbed more than 100 points and back into the good graces as a darling of the Internet.

Yahoo closed 39 1/8 higher at 351 3/8 on speculation that it was a potential target for

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

. Press reports mentioned Yahoo,

America Online

(AOL)

and

Lycos

(LCOS)

as potential targets. Lycos was up 5 1/4 at 110 3/8 and AOL was up 8 1/2 at 154 1/2.

Check Please

Shares of

CheckFree Holding

(CKFR)

traded to an all-time high on rumors that it will announce a deal with either AOL or Yahoo on Wednesday, according to Pawan Malhotra, Internet Analyst at

Legg Mason

. CheckFree provides online bill payment and bill presentment. Legg Mason does not have an underwriting relationship with CheckFree.

CheckFree closed up 2 at 36 1/8 after reaching a new high of 37 9/16.

Picking the Hot Stock

Internet investors have become a little savvier when jumping into a stock, but the frenzy continued today with a company called

Imaging Technologies

(ITEC)

, which was up 228% at 4 1/8, after the company began an advertising campaign for its DealSeekers.com Web site. Imaging Technologies sells computer and imaging hardware, software and consumables products.

Earning its Wings

Positive earnings and upgrades from a number of companies sent shares of

Remedy

(RMDY)

up more than 35%. The software developer reported earnings of 26 cents a share excluding extraordinary costs Monday vs. the 24-cent estimate from First Call. The company was upgraded to "outperform" from "market perform" by

Goldman Sachs

. It also was raised to "strong buy" from "hold" by

CIBC Oppenheimer

and to "buy" from "hold" by

Hambrecht and Quist

. Remedy closed 6 1/16 higher at 22 15/16.