October 25, 2010, 8:42 AM

Investors applaud eBay’s strong Q3 profit growth

Despite eBay’s showing, the Internet Retailer Online Retail Index slips slightly for the week.

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The bottom line mattered more than the top line last week to investors scrutinizing third quarter financial results from two of e-retail’s biggest names, Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc.

While Amazon’s sales grew a stunning 39% year over year, the value of merchandise sold on eBay inched up a meager 3.3%. But Amazon is spending heavily to boost that growth, including on new distribution centers as it seeks to blow away competitors with fast delivery, and that held profit growth to 14.6%. Analysts generally viewed eBay’s sales as in line with expectations for a company that’s evolving away from its auction-site history, and were pleased with eBay’s 23.4% boost in net income.

The result: eBay had the largest gain among the 25 stocks tracked by the Internet Retailer Online Retail Index, while Amazon placed only fifth on the list.

Meanwhile, Netflix Inc. also reported Q3 results this week, delivering a 31% increase in sales and 26% higher net income. Investors rewarded the online entertainment retailer by boosting shares nearly 8%, placing it second to eBay in the Online Retail Index for the week.

Overall, the Online Retail Index of publicly traded e-retailers and e-commerce technology providers trailed the market last week, falling 0.11% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.63% and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index moved up 0.59%.

Here are the best-performing stocks last week in the Online Retail Index and the gain in stock price for each:

• eBay, 9.3%

• Netflix, 8.0%

• LivePerson, 7.4%

• Keynote Systems, 2.7%

• Amazon, 2.7%

Here are the Online Retail Index stocks that performed least well last week and the percentage loss in stock price for the week:

• Drugstore.com, -7.0%

• DemandTec, -5.7%

• RealNetworks, -5.3%

• United Online, -4.5%

• Overstock, -4.1%

The 25 companies in the Internet Retailer Online Retail Index are: 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., Akamai Technologies, Amazon.com Inc., American Greetings Corp., Art Technology Group Inc., Bidz.com Inc., Blue Nile Inc., DemandTec Inc., Digital River Inc., Drugstore.com Inc., eBay Inc., GSI Commerce Inc., Keynote Systems Inc., LivePerson Inc., Netflix Inc., NutriSystem Inc., Overstock.com Inc., PetMed Express Inc., RealNetworks Inc., Shutterfly Inc., Systemax Inc., U.S. Auto Parts Network, United Online Inc. (owner of FTD.com), Vitacost.com Inc. and VistaPrint Ltd.

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