eBay shares rise as sales jump 18%

eBay logo EBay's PayPal arm saw the biggest jump in revenues

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EBay's sales for the last three months of 2012 topped analysts' forecasts as the online marketplace saw strong trading over the Christmas period.

Sales rose 18% to $3.99bn (£2.5bn) in large part due to growth in the use of smartphones to trade on the site.

"Mobile continues to rewrite the commerce playbook," eBay chief executive John Donahoe said.

Profits fell 62% to $757m, but the comparable 2011 figure was inflated by proceeds from eBay's sale of Skype.

According to eBay's statement, the PayPal payment division generated the greatest growth. Fourth-quarter revenue from the payment service totalled $1.54bn, a 24% increase from the previous year.

The marketplaces division, where most of the shopping occurs on eBay, saw fourth-quarter revenue of $2.05bn, up 16% from the 2011 quarter.

EBay charges a fee for each item sold, and receives a fee for each payment processed by PayPal.

On Cyber Monday in November, traditionally seen as the start of holiday shopping season, sales transactions on eBay's mobile applications more than doubled from the year before. The volume of mobile payments via PayPal almost tripled.

EBay shares rose strongly in after-hours trading following the announcement on Wednesday, and opened 2.7% higher on Thursday.

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