Drop in eBay Items Concerns Investors The world's largest online auctioneer posts sharply higher revenues and profits. But the total number of items listed on eBay fell. Some on Wall Street were expecting a decline, but the drop was larger than some had predicted.
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Drop in eBay Items Concerns Investors

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Drop in eBay Items Concerns Investors

Drop in eBay Items Concerns Investors

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

EBay, the world's largest online auctioneer, announced a jump in revenue and profits yesterday, but the total number of items listed on eBay actually fell in the last year.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN: First, the good news for eBay. The company's profit was up 50 percent over the same period last year. Revenue growth in its primary business, the online buying and selling of goods, increased a solid 26 percent. The company's payment processing unit, PayPal, did even better. Its telecommunications company, Skype, also showed strong growth.

Those trends prompted the company to raise lightly its forecast for the rest of the year. But Wall Street analyst Derek Brown of the firm Cantor Fitzgerald says when you dig through the numbers you find a disturbing fact. The number of items put up for sale was down six percent from last year.

Mr. DEREK BROWN (Wall Street Analyst, Cantor Fitzgerald): The fact of the matter is their core franchise, the buying and selling of goods and services on eBay.com, continues to lose market share at what we think is a pretty rapid rate. And we would recommend investors sell the stock and find better opportunities elsewhere.

KAUFMAN: The company downplayed the drop in listings, but the company is working diligently to improve the user's experience and drive more sales.

And speaking of user experience, consider the experience of one 16 year-old British boy. He recently bought a PlayStation 2 on eBay, but when he opened the box, he found more than 65,000 Euros. That's about $90,000. Police are investigating. But if the money isn't claimed by its rightful owner, the boy's family could get a windfall.

Wendy Kauffman, NPR news.

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