RPT-PREVIEW-EBay’s Marketplaces growth to dominate

* Faster pace of growth at Marketplaces division expected* GMV, ex-autos, seen rising 14 pct in US — analystBy Alistair BarrSAN FRANCISCO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The performance of eBay Inc’s main Marketplaces business will dominate results from the e-commerce company later this week.EBay has been working on a turnaround of its online marketplaces for over a year and growth has begun to pick up in recent quarters.EBay shares are up more than 20 percent so far this year, but further gains will depend on growth continuing, or even increasing, analysts and investors said.”Continued acceleration at the core eBay Marketplaces will be of paramount importance,” said Fred Moran, an analyst at Benchmark Capital.EBay’s Internet marketplaces, the biggest of their kind, bring together buyers and sellers and the company makes money by charging fees on transactions and other activity.The marketplaces business started as an auction website, but eBay has moved away from that model and now about 60 percent of sales are fixed price.Having more fixed prices has made eBay’s marketplaces more accessible to a broader audience of shoppers, helping the company compete better with Amazon.com Inc , the world’s largest Internet retailer.”The transition to fixed-price has paid off and enhanced the growth rate,” Moran said. “If that continues in the third quarter, the stock should be rewarded.EBay is expected to report earnings of 48 cents per share on revenue of $2.91 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company is due to unveil results after the stock market closes on Wednesday.When eBay reported second-quarter results in July, the company forecast third-quarter revenue between $2.85 billion and $2.95 billion and earnings of 46 cents to 47 a share.EBay also forecast full-year revenue of $11.3 billion to $11.6 billion in July and profit of $1.97 to $2.00 a share.A closely watched metric will be the Gross Merchandise Volume, or GMV, that changed hands on eBay’s marketplaces, excluding vehicle sales.”How people react to the earnings will depend on how much GMV has been transacted,” said Bill Smead of Smead Capital, which owns eBay shares. “We expect not spectacular but steady improvement there. EBay is participating in the growth of e-commerce, while a few years ago they weren’t.”Justin Post, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is expecting U.S. GMV growth of 14 percent in the third quarter, versus a year earlier. But growth could be as high as 16 percent, he noted.The focus on fixed price sales makes eBay a much more effective destination for holiday shopping, while the company has also reduced clutter on its website and improved cataloging and search functions, according to Post.

Bashir says Sudan will adopt entirely Islamic constitution

(Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir inKhartoum, October 9, 2011/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Perfect Lions roar to best start since 1956

In front of a raucous Detroit crowd that has suffered through 10 straight losing seasons prior to this year, the Bears were rattled into several penalties while the Lions made a bold statement with a strong divisional win.”It was a great night for the city and we need to get used to playing in games like this and having atmospheres like this,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters. “The fans did their part tonight. We took our cue from them.”The Lions had trailed 10-7 at halftime but seized control of the game with a decisive third quarter.Quarterback Matthew Stafford drove the Lions down-field for an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Pettigrew with 9:55 to go in the third and on Detroit’s next possession, Best broke free for an 88-yard run that gave the home team a 21-10 advantage.”It was an inside zone play, the (offensive line) made a little crease, I hit it and ran as fast as I could,” Best said.”I feel if I get in the open field nobody should catch me. There was electricity in the air and we were definitely feeling it.”The Bears could not find much offense against Detroit and failed to mount a rally as they fell to 2-3, three games behind the NFC North-leading Lions and Green Bay Packers, the NFL’s only two remaining undefeated teams.Stafford finished the game with two touchdown passes, finding favorite target Calvin Johnson for a 73-yard strike and a 7-0 lead in the second quarter to give the wide receiver his NFL-leading ninth scoring reception of the season.Chicago responded with a field goal and a nine-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Kellen Davis to take their only lead of the game shortly before halftime.Cutler ended the night with 249 yards passing and Matt Forte ran for 116 yards in the loss.