Analysts expect online auctioneer Bay to report fourth-quarter earnings rose as much as 15 percent to 57 cents a share, on revenue of $3.32 billion after the market closes Wednesday, a gain of 15 cents from 2010.

In the third quarter, San Jose, Calif.-based eBay missed earnings estimated by Thomson Reuters by a mile. Net income was $491 million, on 37 cents, a dime below estimates, on revenue of $3 billion.

This time, investors will look for stronger results from the holiday season because consumers shopped more online order to find discounts. Shoppers spent a record $37.2 billion online during November and December, up 15 percent from the previous year, digital analytics firm comScore reported.

However, comScore pointed out that free shipping rose last year, which could cut into eBay's the profit margin. Fifty-six percent of online transactions included free shipping, up 4 percent from 2010.

EBay also owns online payments company PayPal, which accounted for more a third of overall eBay revenue in the third quarter. Higher online holiday payments may have contributed to a net income growth.

PayPal CEO Scott Thompson resigned to become CEO of Yahoo on Jan. 9, and a permanent CEO hasn't been found. Shares of eBay fell about 4 percent the day of the announcement.

Shares of eBay were down 1.2 percent to $30.16 in afternoon trading. The 52-week high was $35.35.