EBay Inc on Wednesday forecast fourth-quarter profit and revenue at the low end of analysts' estimates, disappointing investors' hopes of a substantial turnaround at its main marketplaces division during the crucial holiday season.
Shares in the company fell 5 percent after-hours.
Certainly the Q4 earnings guidance is light, said analyst Colin Gillis of Brigantine Advisors. This is a turnaround play in the early stages.
The global e-commerce site, which also owns online payments service PayPal and Web telephone company Skype, said net profit in its third quarter was $350 million, or 27 cents per share, from $492 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, earnings were 38 cents per share, a penny above the average analyst forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue was $2.2 billion, the San Jose, California-based company said, compared to the Wall Street expectation of $2.14 billion.
In the marketplaces division, which relies on fixed-price and auction sales, revenues fell 1 percent. They rose 15 percent at PayPal and 29 percent at Skype, which the company is in the process of spinning off.
Investors have been looking for confirmation that eBay has turned around its long-struggling marketplaces business, including better traffic and positive sales.
In recent months, analysts have warmed to the idea of a comeback by the Internet giant - and sent its stock up 79 percent since January -- raising their estimates on a stock that has languished for years.
EBay's holiday forecast took some of the shine off those hopes.
EBay has a long history of providing very conservative guidance and then breaking it, but people were hoping for evidence of much more recovery, said Bernstein Research's Jeffrey Lindsay.
For the fourth quarter, eBay sees adjusted earnings to range between 38 cents to 40 cents per share. Wall Street had been expecting 40 cents per share.
EBay expects fourth-quarter revenues to range between $2.20 billion to $2.30 billion, versus Wall Street's estimate of $2.57 billion.
(Additional reporting by David Lawsky and Lisa Baertlein; editing by Leslie Gevirtz)