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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 04:51 GMT 05:51 UK
EBay profits jump, shares slump
EBay offers millions of items for sale every day

Online auction site eBay has reported an almost 70% in profits but disappointed analysts with a conservative forecast for next year's sales.

The success story made $103.3m (61.5m) over the past three months compared to $61m made in the same period a year earlier.

The rise in profits met analyst forecasts, but the online firm's results have traditionally far outstripped expectations.

Several research firms have recently cautioned that eBay's rapid growth cannot continue apace.

And the firm backed up this theory when it predicted sales growth of 38% during 2004, a figure well below its boom period of expansion.

"EBay continues to be a very dynamic business that has some challenges over the near and medium term," said Derek Brown, an analyst at Pacific Growth Equities.


Shares plunged 7% in after hours trading as investors worried about the long term outlook.

There have been some fears that eBay stock, that has so far defied the bursting of the bubble, has become overvalued.

The company's market value is just over $37bn, making it worth almost 50% more than General Motors, the world's largest carmaker.

Sales into Germany, eBay's largest overseas franchise, were particularly disappointing, and the firm is trying to kick-start that market with a television advertising campaign.

The purchase of Chinese online auctioneer EachNet, however, helped to push up earnings.

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