As consumers' retail spending declines, eBay's (EBAY) prospects brighten. At least that's one possible story to be told by eBay's second quarter 2009 results, beating analyst expectations at 25 cents a share -- $327.3 million -- or 37 cents a share excluding one-time charges. Analysts thought the company would earn 36 cents a share; last year eBay recorded 35 cents per share. Revenue, mirroring a story across the retail sector, fell, but only four percent, to $2.1 billion. Analysts expected a much sharper drop, nine percent, to $1.99 billion for the quarter.
Shares were up today in anticipation of results, 2.75 percent to $19.45, and they were up still more in after hours trading to above $20, another four percent thanks to the surprise. The story is told in the divisions; eBay's Marketplace segment, comprising auctions, classified listings, and stores, fell 14 percent from the year-earlier quarter, whereas money-mover PayPal grew 11 percent since second quarter 2008.