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Any signs of forward progress?

eBay is a sad husk of a company without PayPal

By Matt Phillips

It’s tough out there when you’re all alone.

Online marketplace eBay reported fourth quarter sales of $2.3 billion Wednesday, roughly the same as the prior year quarter. More importantly, eBay’s earnings guidance for the coming first quarter suggested there was little short-term hope for a surge of growth.

The report marked eBay’s second public pronouncement on earnings since spinning-off its PayPal online payments unit as a standalone public company over the summer. Likewise, Ebay unloaded its enterprise division, which sells online services other retailers use to power their websites, to private equity buyers.

Stripped of those faster-growing divisions, the core eBay marketplace business does not look enticing to investors. And while there has been some indication the market was giving the company a bit of time to work things out, today’s earnings report did little to buoy expectations. Shares plunged by as much as 13% after the report was released.