U.S. Markets close in 4 hrs 18 mins

Ahead of the Bell: EBay stock down on weak outlook

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of eBay Inc. declined in premarket trading Thursday after the e-commerce and online payments company's first-quarter revenue and second-quarter guidance fell below Wall Street's expectations, hurt by the uncertain economy in Europe.

Benchmark analyst Daniel Kurnos, who has a "Buy" rating on eBay, called the guidance "somewhat disappointing, particularly given total revenue growth towards the bottom half of eBay's (three-year) growth plan." But he noted that eBay kept its 2013 guidance intact, which implies better growth in the second half of the year.

Shawn Milne of Janney Capital Markets also kept a "Buy" rating on the stock and said his view on eBay remains unchanged. Milne thinks the company's plan to drive traffic to its top-rated sellers "should ultimately improve the buying experience" for shoppers. And increased product selection and an improved buying experience "should begin to stem market share losses," he added.

Milne also expects strong growth at PayPal.

EBay said after the market closed Wednesday that it earned $677 million, or 51 cents per share, in the January-March period. That's up 19 percent from $570 million, or 44 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings were 63 cents per share, up from last year's 55 cents and a penny above analysts' expectations of 62 cents.

Revenue grew 14 percent to $3.75 billion, slightly below Wall Street expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet were looking for $3.77 billion.

For the current quarter, eBay expects adjusted earnings of 61 to 63 cents per share. Analysts had been expecting 66 cents per share, but the average was revised down by Thursday morning to an average of 64 cents, according to FactSet.

The company's revenue forecast of $3.8 billion to $3.9 billion is also slightly below the $3.95 billion analysts expected. Wall Street's forecast ticked down to $3.91 billion overnight.

Shares of the San Jose, Calif.-based company fell $2.30, or 4.1 percent, to $53.80 in premarket trading. The stock closed Wednesday before the results were released at $56.10, up about 10 percent since the start of the year.