SAN FRANCISCO – Online auctioneer eBay Inc. had a first quarter to crow about, but it wasn’t enough to make its management more bullish about the company’s future – much to the dismay of investors.
Shares of eBay fell $3.58, or 8.9 percent, to close at $36.77 Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
After posting a profit that matched analyst estimates and exceeded its own expectations, eBay disappointed Wall Street late Wednesday by sticking with the same financial outlook it provided three months ago.
The conservative stance is a familiar one for eBay, which traditionally has been reluctant to raise expectations.
The e-commerce bellwether earned $248.3 million, or 17 cents per share, during the three months ended in March. That represented a 3 percent decrease from net income of $256.3 million, or 19 cents per share, at the same time last year.
San Jose, Calif.-based EBay accounted for the two quarters much differently because of new rules requiring publicly held companies to deduct the costs of their employee stock options from their profits.
If not for the option expenses and a smattering of other items, eBay said it would have earned 24 cents per share in its most recent quarter. That matched the average estimate among analysts polled by Thomson Financial.
Revenue for the first quarter totaled $1.39 billion, also meeting analyst expectations, according to Thomson Financial. The revenue increased 35 percent from last year’s $1.03 billion.
Excluding stock option expenses, eBay predicted its full-year earnings will range from 96 cents to $1.01 per share on revenue between $5.7 billion and $5.9 billion. The average estimates among analysts had been earnings of $1.03 per share on revenue of $5.96 billion.
It marks the second consecutive quarter that eBay’s earnings forecast has let down investors.