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Ahead of the Bell: eBay

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of eBay climbed in premarket trading Thursday following the e-commerce pioneer's fourth-quarter earnings beat.

On Wednesday, the San Jose, Calif.-based company reported adjusted earnings of 70 cents per share, which was a penny above the average forecast of analysts polled by FactSet. Revenue rose 18 percent to nearly $14 billion, in line with analysts' expectations.

Jefferies' Brian Pitz said in a client note that eBay Inc.'s quarterly results were solid, buoyed by a strong performance from its PayPal service that it bought a decade ago and accelerating growth at its marketplaces division.

The analyst maintained a "Buy" rating and increased its price target to $62 from $56.

Daniel Kurnos of Benchmark called PayPal eBay's "crown jewel," saying that the service is poised for continued growth.

"Because of PayPal's mixed funding sources between bank transfers, debit cards and credit cards, it can offer cheaper payment transactions than credit cards. We believe this competitive advantage is sustainable and should drive penetration across the internet and emerging mobile landscape," he wrote.

Kurnos kept a "Buy" rating and boosted eBay's price target to $63 from $58.

EBay's stock rose $1.20, or 2.3 percent, to $54.10 two hours before the market open. That is just below eBay's 52-week high of $54.20 in regular market trading.