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eBay ups forecast as profits jump

Online auction house eBay has raised its full year forecasts after unveiling a 53% jump in second quarter profits. The US firm said profits for the three months to June had risen to a record $291.6m from $190.4m a year earlier. EBay added revenues had jumped 40% to $1.09bn, exceeding forecasts of $1.04bn, while all other key measures such as active users had also surged. As a result, it upgraded its earnings outlook for the year to 82 cents or 83 cents for the year from 79 cents. Bidding surge "EBay achieved remarkable results ... excellent momentum in the US and Germany, as well as at PayPal, all helped deliver an impressive jump in revenues and profit," president and chief executive Meg Whitman said. Active users who bid bought or listed an item on the site in the previous 12 months jumped to a record 64.6 million during the quarter - from 48 million a year earlier. As a result, total sales rose 41% to $1.05bn from $751.6m a year earlier. The news saw shares in the California-based group jump to $38 in after-hours trading - its stocks had closed 50 cents lower at $34.87 in regular trade. Reversal of fortune EBay - once a favoured Internet name - has been hit by a backlash in recent months which has pushed its shares more than 40% lower since January, wiping $30bn off its market value. "There has been a lot debate about eBay - it certainly has been the most controversial of the large Internet stocks," American Technology Research analyst David Edwards told Associated Press. "Obviously, some pressure has been lifted with this report." The slide began in January after the firm unveiled disappointing quarterly results - despite net profits of 44% between October and December, investors still wanted more. Meanwhile, the group has also come under fire for raising charges for its sellers and failing to clamp down on so-called "mischief makers". Just last month, the UK press was up in arms after eBay refused to act against vendors who put tickets for Live 8 up for sale. It later banned the re-sale of tickets for the charity concerts.

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