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EBay Boosted By Seasonal Shoppers
by BBC News (

The internet auction site eBay has reported a 24% increase in profits in the final three months of 2006 compared with the same period last year.

Surging sales in the US, the UK and Germany meant that more than 81 million customers bought and sold $14.4bn (£7.3bn) worth of goods on eBay.

EBay, which takes a cut of an item's sale price as well as a listing fee, made $349m (£177.3m) profit.

Shares rose 10.2% in after-market trading, following the announcement.

UK traders

"It was a very strong quarter capping a very strong year," eBay chief executive Meg Whitman said.
However she warned that it was taking longer than the company had hoped for eBay to start making money back off Skype - the internet calling firm it bought for $2.6bn in 2005.

Net income at the firm rose 29% to $1.72bn on the same period a year ago.

Britain is now the world's busiest eBay nation.

There is more traded on eBay UK per head of population - about £50 a year each - than anywhere else, including the USA.