While Carl Icahn dukes it out with eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) management in what amounts to a public brawl, there are signs of growth going on at the company. Headlines about growth don’t get as much attention as spicy stories about activist investors targeting a company, but they do demonstrate that there’s more going on than just a massive public spat.
eBay Tracker suggests improvement
Baird analysts Colin Sebastian and Rohit Kulkarni say their proprietary data tracker suggests some improvement in eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)’s sales late last month. They noted “a slight acceleration” in Marketplace growth since the first part of the month, although the overall trends are pretty stable, which they think is in line with expectations. For the full month of February, their tracker suggests that eBay saw growth in the low double digits, which is slightly higher than the data from their January survey.
They note that the first part of February was pretty slow, with the first week of the month showing the slowest growth week. Growth climbed to low double digit volume overall. Based on their checks of merchants, they think some of the issues are related to upgrades in the company’s search engine and also mixed trends in consumer spending.
Looking into eBay’s future
The Baird team also points to recent news regarding eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)’s investments into machine learning. The online auction company wants to push faster growth in emerging markets. One of the ways they are doing this is by automating the translation of product listings on the site into Russian. Doing this gives a boost to the number of listings which are aimed at Russian-language shoppers.
The Baird analysts maintained their Outperform rating and $65 a share price target for eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY). They believe the downside risk from the stock’s current levels is probably limited because of PayPal’s high value and the activist campaign currently being run by Carl Icahn.