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EBay shares gain on holiday sales optimism

Visitors chat next to Ebay logo at CeBIT computer fair in Hanover
Visitors chat next to Ebay logo at CeBIT computer fair in Hanover

(Reuters) - EBay Inc Inc shares rose more than 4 percent on Monday after an analyst upgraded the e-commerce company, citing strong holiday sales.

Aaron Kessler, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates, raised his rating on eBay to strong buy from market perform and put a 12-month price target of $39 on the stock.

EBay is changing its main online marketplace to emphasize fixed prices and quick purchases, rather than the auctions for which the company is known.

The changes have increased sales growth and may be contributing to a strong start to the holiday season for the company, Kessler said.

"Data indicates solid marketplace growth has continued into the fourth quarter and we believe continued enhancements should continue to drive improved performance," the analyst wrote in a note to investors.

ChannelAdvisor, which helps merchants sell more online via eBay, Amazon.com and other websites, reported on Friday that eBay's November same-store sales increased 18 percent from the same period last year.

That's more than twice last year's growth rate of 8 percent and is up "significantly" from October's 13.4 percent year-over-year increase, Kessler noted.

EBay shares were up 4.1 percent at $30.81 in late morning trading on Monday, leaving them up more than 6 percent so far this year.

(Reporting by Alistair Barr; Editing by Derek Caney)

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