EBay shares drop 9% after turnaround efforts fail to result in growth

EBay Inc. shares sank 9.4% in Thursday trading after second-quarter results show that efforts to grow the online retailer’s business have yet to yield positive results.

The company reported adjusted earnings of 53 cents per share and revenue of $2.64 billion. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of 51 cents and revenue of $2.66 billion.

EBay EBAY, -8.23% also lowered its full-year revenue outlook to between $10.75 billion and $10.85 billion from between $10.9 billion and $11.1 billion.

Raymond James downgraded eBay shares to outperform from strong buy after the announcement citing initiatives that are “ramping slower than expected” and challenges to StubHub’s growth that will likely extend through the near term.

“EBay also noted that it does not expect some of its key initiatives to delivery stronger growth until later this year (e.g. structured data/product based experiences, brand advertising),” Raymond James analysts led by Aaron Kessler wrote in a note. “Also, while new buyers are responding well to new buyer experiences, this has yet to translate to improving conversion from existing users.”

Raymond James lowered its target price to $46 from $51.

“At first blush, 2Q results looked decent on paper,” said Benchmark analyst Daniel Kurnos in a note. “Digging deeper, however, revenue came in light as mix continued to negatively affect the take rake, while the 2-cent beat in EPS was largely driven by a lower tax rate and $989 million in share repurchases.”

EBay Chief Executive Devin Wenig said the company would focus on delivery, new buyer experiences and other efforts to improve the business.

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“At the same time, we’re stopping work on less critical projects that are not moving the needle or are more speculative,” he said on the earnings call, according to a FactSet transcript.

Benchmark is “optimistic” about the initiatives, “even if messaging around improvement timing has been somewhat off,” its note said.

Benchmark also raises the M&A issue.

“Although we don’t believe a strategic combination is imminent, we view eBay has a primer merger candidate for a company seeking a U.S. foothold or expanded operations with a large, relatively loyal built-in buyer and seller base,” Kournos wrote.

Benchmark rates eBay shares buy with a $50 price target.

Stifel analysts addressed the guidance decrease, highlighting the headwinds from the strength of the U.S. dollar and the soft StubHub business, which is expected to continue through the end of the year.

“We are constructive on eBay’s efforts to reinvigorate growth, though expect positive results will be realized gradually as structural challenges and a difficult competitive position are likely to limit the growth opportunity relative to global e-commerce sales,” analysts led by Scott Devitt wrote.

Stifel rates eBay shares hold and lowered its target price $1 to $43.

EBay shares are down nearly 9% for 2018 so far while the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.41%  has risen nearly 5% for the period.

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