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The Associated Press October 20, 2010, 7:23AM ET

Ahead of the Bell: EBay to report 3Q results

EBay Inc. reports its third-quarter earnings after the stock market close Wednesday, and the online auction site operator is expected to show a slight dip in its revenue and adjusted earnings -- in keeping with the company's prediction.

Still, analysts will be keeping an eye out for growth or positive trends in eBay's online marketplace -- which includes and a number of e-commerce websites -- and its PayPal online payments business.

EBay has been rolling out continuous changes to in hopes of enticing buyers and retaining sellers, such as by cutting upfront fees it charges sellers and offering and modifying its search technology in hopes of giving users increasingly relevant results.

Meanwhile, PayPal has grown rapidly, and it's likely that its momentum kept up in the third quarter as merchants and consumers used it on and off eBay's namesake site.

In July, San Jose, Calif.-based eBay forecast an adjusted third-quarter profit of 35 cents to 37 cents per share on $2.13 billion to $2.18 billion in revenue. The company said in September that it expected to report results near the top of this range.

That compares to an adjusted profit of 38 cents per share on $2.24 billion in revenue that eBay reported in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who typically exclude one-time items, forecast an adjusted profit of 37 cents per share on $2.18 billion in revenue.

In a recent client note, Jefferies & Co. analyst Youssef Squali predicted eBay's results will indicate "strong momentum" from PayPal, as well as "progress" from eBay's efforts to improve its marketplace.

Squali, who rates the stock "Buy" with a $30 price target, said that eBay will probably be cautious with its forecast for the fourth quarter, though, due to the still-emerging economic turnaround, ongoing Marketplace changes and changeable foreign exchange rates.

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