EBay posts 3Q profit, but 4Q may disappoint

NEW YORK (AP) – EBay Inc. posted a third-quarter profit that beat analyst forecasts Wednesday, but its lower-than-expected fourth-quarter outlook indicated the online auction site operator is not immune to the slowing economy.

The San Jose, California-based company’s shares fell 58 cents, or 3.8 percent, in after-hours trading, after finishing regular trading down $2.41, or 13.6 percent, at $15.33.

The fourth quarter is “going to be a challenging retail environment and we want to drive demand for eBay sellers,” eBay Chief Executive John Donahoe said in an interview.

The company plans to work on this by spending more on sales and marketing during the period.

For the third quarter, the company had said last week that due to the weakened economy and strengthened dollar its per-share profit would be higher than it had predicted in July, but revenue would be near the low end of its expectations.

This was reflected in the results, as eBay earned $492 million, or 38 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. In the year-ago period, eBay reported a loss of $936 million, or 69 cents per share, stemming from charges to its Skype telecommunications unit.

Excluding one-time items, eBay earned 46 cents per share – five cents higher than analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $2.12 billion, a bit lower than the $2.13 billion analysts anticipated.

Sales from the company’s marketplace segment – which includes eBay, Shopping.com, StubHub and other e-commerce sites – rose more than 4 percent to $1.38 billion.

The company’s PayPal unit logged much higher growth – 27 percent, with revenue rising to $597 million.

EBay’s number of new listings jumped 26 percent year over year to 700 million. But the number of active users – which is an important measure of how well it is doing bringing in new buyers and sellers – rose just 3 percent in the quarter to 85.7 million.

Analysts were troubled by eBay’s third-quarter gross merchandise volume, which refers to the total amount of money that flows from transactions on the site, as it declined for the first time, dipping almost 1 percent to $14.3 billion.

“Granted, what’s going on around us in terms of the macroeconomic landscape and heading toward a recession has to have some effect on the GMV, that’s a given, but you don’t really know how much is due to the overall economy versus what is company-specific,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Stephen Ju.

During the company’s quarterly conference call with analysts, Donahoe said the metric “was not what we would have liked but we remain confident in our overall direction and believe we’re on the right path.”

Going forward, EBay cut its full-year outlook, which put its fourth-quarter expectations well below analysts’. Among other things, eBay cited costly upcoming acquisitions and cuts to 10 percent of its workforce.

For the year, eBay now expects earnings of $1.69 to $1.71 per share on an adjusted basis. It’s also looking for $8.53 billion to $8.68 billion in revenue.

The company had previously expected a profit of $1.72 to $1.77 per share on an adjusted basis, and $8.8 billion to $9.05 billion in revenue.

Given this, the company is looking for a fourth-quarter profit, excluding items, of 39 cents to 41 cents per share in the period, compared with 45 cents in the fourth quarter of 2007. When excluding items, analysts had anticipated a profit of 47 cents per share.

The company also sees its revenue dipping, predicting $2.02 billion to $2.17 billion in revenue. EBay’s revenue totaled $2.18 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts were expecting $2.43 billion in revenue.

“I think as the company tries to reinvigorate the core marketplaces platform it’s encountering more headwinds, and surely the fourth-quarter guidance is reflecting a deteriorating consumer spending environment,” Ju said.

And beyond that, Donahoe is not sure how long economic issues will persist.
“The thing about periods like this – and this is probably the third or fourth recession in my career – is you never know how long they’ll last or how deep they’ll go,” he said.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-10-15-08 2035EDT

Park Sookeun (Korean, 1914-1965) A seated woman with jar, oil on panel retains original frame with label on reverse, signed in Hangul, 13 5/8 inches by 9 7/8 inches.

New England estate treasures in John McInnis Auctioneers’ Oct. 19 sale

Park Sookeun (Korean, 1914-1965) A seated woman with jar, oil on panel retains original frame with label on reverse, signed in Hangul, 13 5/8 inches by 9 7/8 inches.

Park Sookeun (Korean, 1914-1965) A seated woman with jar, oil on panel retains original frame with label on reverse, signed in Hangul, 13 5/8 inches by 9 7/8 inches.

AMESBURY, Mass. – John McInnis Auctioneers will begin its Fall Auction schedule with an Important October Estates sale on Sunday, Oct. 19, commencing at 11 a.m. EST. The auction will feature Americana, silver, porcelain, sculpture, pottery, fine art and historical memorabilia.

The sale opens with a rare and important discovery from the descendants of Nicholas Pike, an author on mathematics from Newburyport, Mass. The lot includes the first 1786 edition Pikes Arithmetic, a new and complete system of arithmetic (Nicholas Pike’s copy with hand written notes), and a three-page letter from George Washington dated 1788 written to the author commending him on his accomplishments and the importance of the work.

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Fabio Fabbi. Image courtesy Clarke Auction Gallery.

Clarke Auction Gallery to conduct 5th Annual Fine Art Auction Oct. 27

Fabio Fabbi. Image courtesy Clarke Auction Gallery.

Fabio Fabbi. Image courtesy Clarke Auction Gallery.

LARCHMONT, N.Y. – Estate-fresh, unusual and exceptional works by artists such as Larry Rivers, Jane Freilicher, Jose Guerrero, Gladys Bates, Fabio Fabbi. A.T. Millar and Mary Cassatt will be offered at Clarke Auction Gallery’s fifth annual Fine Art Auction on Monday, Oct. 27. The sale will feature a dazzling array of 19th- and 20th-century paintings and sculptures.

Also slated to cross the block will be works of historical and artistic significance by African-American artists such as Beauford Delaney, Al Loving, Jr. and Purvis Young. International art will include works from Thomas Rowlandson, Eugene Berman, Cristobal Toval, Brett Whiteley, Wynne Apperley and Gabriel Spat.

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LiveAuctioneers.com

LiveAuctioneers.com signs its first Mainland China client: Shanghai Auction

LiveAuctioneers.com

LiveAuctioneers.com

NEW YORK (ACNI) – Manhattan-based LiveAuctioneers.com, providers of Internet live-bidding services and software to 744 auction houses worldwide, has signed its first client from Mainland China: Shanghai Auction.

Shanghai Auction is located in China’s largest city. With a population of more than 14 million people, Shanghai is also the world’s sixth-largest city, and according to AsiaInfo Services, it is also the auction capital of Mainland China.

“We look forward to providing our services to Shanghai Auctions, beginning with a November sale,” said LiveAuctioneers’ CEO Julian R. Ellison. “Asia is an immense consumer marketplace, by far the world’s largest. We already serve auction houses in several Asian nations – Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Thailand. The move into Mainland China represented by this new association with Shanghai Auction is a major step forward in the ongoing globalization of the live-auction sector.”

Rare Philadelphia stoneware pitcher, attributed to Richard Remmey, 10.5 inches h. $40,000-60,000

Machmer Americana collection showcased in Pook & Pook’s Oct. 24-25 auction

Rare Philadelphia stoneware pitcher, attributed to Richard Remmey, 10.5 inches h.  $40,000-60,000

Rare Philadelphia stoneware pitcher, attributed to Richard Remmey, 10.5 inches h. $40,000-60,000

DOWNINGTON, Pa. – Painted birds, fanciful tulips, colorful hearts, vibrant parrots, fans and stars are all decorative elements of American painted furniture and folk art to be offered as Pook & Pook, Inc. presents the collection of Richard and Rosemarie Machmer October 24-25. The Machmers were well known for their scholarship, hard work, historic community involvement and impeccable taste. As veteran collectors, “Dick” and “Rosie” amassed exceptional pieces of painted furniture and accessories, carvings, fraktur, textiles and Native American objects.

Among the 816 lots are many local carvings primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of these carvings were pictured in Just for Nice, Carving and Whittling Magic of Southeastern Pennsylvania, written by the Machmers in 1991. One of the favorite carvers, John Reber, is well represented in the auction. Reber, born in 1857 in Lehigh County, Pa., is known for his realistic work and attention to detail. Reber highlights include: a “Dan Patch” figure of a horse with sulky and driver (Est. $25,000-$35,000), a stallion (Est. $12,000-$18,000), a 17″ long pheasant, a guinea hen and several roosters.

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Photo courtesy of The City of Duluth, Minn. - all rights reserved.

City of Duluth takes ‘for sale’ sign off Tiffany Studios window depicting Minnehaha

Photo courtesy of The City of Duluth, Minn. - all rights reserved.

Photo courtesy of The City of Duluth, Minn. – all rights reserved.

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) – The Duluth City Council has voted 8-1 to take a Tiffany Studios “Minnehaha” stained-glass window off the market.

Councilor Todd Fedora proposed rescinding support for selling the Tiffany window after experts expressed skepticism at its $2.9 million appraisal. He said it would have been terrible if the city had put it up for auction and the sale brought in only a tenth of what they expected.

Selling the artwork was one of the most disputed proposals Mayor Don Ness brought forward in trying to balance the city budget after it became clear that revenues were going to fall $6.5 million short of expenses this year.

The window depicting a fictional American Indian princess was designed by Tiffany artist Anne Weston in 1892-93 when she lived in Duluth. It’s been on display in the Depot in downtown Duluth.

Information from: Duluth News Tribune,
http://www.duluthsuperior.com

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WS-10-14-08 0845EDT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Photo courtesy of The City of Duluth, Minn. - all rights reserved.

Photo courtesy of The City of Duluth, Minn. – all rights reserved.

Photo courtesy of The City of Duluth, Minn. - all rights reserved.

Photo courtesy of The City of Duluth, Minn. – all rights reserved.

Police seek multi-state scam artist – purports to sell antique furniture

JOHNSON, Ark. (AP) – A man who offers to sell antique furniture or farm equipment as a first step toward bilking people out of money has struck in the northwest Arkansas town of Johnson.

Authorities are looking for 59-year-old Sammy K. Lee, also known as Jimmy D. Gilley. Police say Lee is also wanted in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

A news release from Johnson police says Lee claims to represent an estate or an elderly person as a way to lure victims.

Lee was last seen in Johnson on Oct. 3 and was driving a black Ford SUV. Police ask that anyone with information on Lee call authorities.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WS-10-14-08 1609EDT

Gallery Report: October 2008

Late Navajo serape, $123,375, Cowan’s

A late classic Navajo serape (circa 1865), with lac and cochineal dyes, sold for $123,375 at a Fall American Indian Art Auction held Sept. 13 by Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati. Also, a Delaware beaded bandolier bag (circa 1850), with a box inscribed Fort Gibson, Okla., hammered for $41,125; an early 20th century unsigned jar by Maria Martinez, with geometric hooks and frets interspersed with abstract florals, coasted to $18,000; and a photograph by Edward Curtis titled Oasis in the Badlands brought $8,812. Prices include a 17.5 percent buyer’s premium.

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Auction Central News first in line to run Kovels column as it goes digital

NEW YORK – In an ongoing effort to deliver top-quality news and information to its readers, Auction Central News will introduce the digitally syndicated version of Kovels: Antiques & Collecting sometime within the next few weeks. ACN is the first antiques-related online newspaper to receive approval from Hearst/King Features Syndicate and Kovels to carry the popular newspaper column in digital format.

Kovels: Antiques & Collecting was a trailblazer when launched in 1954 by Terry Kovel and her late husband and business partner Ralph Kovel. Written in Q & A format, the authoritative monthly feature covers a broad range of topics, with carefully researched prices and images.

“The Kovels column is a classic that has always garnered utmost respect within the antiques trade,” said Auction Central News’ editor-in-chief, Catherine Saunders-Watson. “The fact that it still runs in more than 150 print newspapers and has remained so vibrant and informative after more than half a century makes it completely unique within its space. We’re thrilled that it will be running as a regular feature on Auction Central News.”

ACN’s readers will be invited to submit questions to Terry Kovel through the column.

Reports: Beckham staff arrested over alleged theft of memorabilia

LONDON (AP) – British newspapers are reporting that two people who worked for soccer star David Beckham and his wife were arrested after some of the couple’s possessions were spotted on an Internet auction site.

Both the tabloid Sun and the Daily Mirror say in their Oct. 14 editions that two housekeepers at the Beckham’s mansion northeast of London were arrested and questioned by police last week.

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