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3 Things eBay Investors Need to Know Ahead of Its Earnings Report

eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) is on the list of companies experiencing a boost in sales as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Surprisingly, eBay is doing better than Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) in one crucial metric. Moreover, there are a couple of major developments that eBay's management might shed light on in the conference call following the third-quarter earnings report on Oct. 28.

The company was firing on all cylinders in its most recent quarter, and investors will want to see if it can sustain the momentum. Here are three things you should keep an eye on in the earnings report.

A miniature shopping cart placed in front of a laptop computer.

eBay is forecasting revenue growth of 15.5% in the third quarter. Image source: Getty images.

Shoppers are flocking to eBay amid the pandemic

First, investors will want to look at overall revenue growth. In the most recent quarter, it grew 18% as people shopped online more often. The company is forecasting the surge will continue in the third quarter, projecting revenue growth of 15.5% at the midpoint. Given the continued increases of coronavirus cases globally, it will not be surprising if eBay beats the revenue forecast.

Second, shareholders will want to consider active buyers in eBay's marketplace. In the most recent quarter, the company increased total active buyers to 182 million globally, up 5% from the previous year, a number that compares favorably against the 150 million Prime members for Amazon. Admittedly, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it still illuminates the vast buyer base of eBay.

Third, those interested in eBay will want to hear management discuss developments in two major initiatives: the sale of its classified business to Adevinta and the shift to managed payments as its agreement with PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ: PYPL) ended. On July 20, eBay agreed to transfer its classifieds business to Adevinta for $9.2 billion in cash and stock. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Since the agreement with PayPal ended, the company is pushing its own managed-payment solution. According to CEO Jamie Iannone, "sellers benefit from a streamlined experience, more options on how and when to be paid, and the majority of them are saving money on fees."

A credit cards and miniature boxes with shopping carts drawn on them sitting on a laptop keyboard.

eBay boasts 182 million active shoppers. Image source: Getty images.

What it means for investors

Wall Street analysts expect eBay to report revenue of $2.69 billion and earnings per share of $0.86. The revenue figure is in the company's range of $2.64 billion to $2.71 billion. The stock price is already up about 50% so far this year, and the rise has pushed eBay up to a price-to-sales ratio of 3.93, near its five-year peak of 4.19 reached in 2016. If the company disappoints investors when it reports on Oct. 28, look for shares in this tech stock to pull back.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Parkev Tatevosian has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool recommends eBay and recommends the following options: short January 2021 $37 calls on eBay, long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon, long January 2021 $18 calls on eBay, and short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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