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Bristol-Myers, the No. 3 U.S. drugs maker which produces the Glucophage/Glucovance family of diabetes drugs and cholesterol drug Pravachol, posted net income of $1.24 billion, or 62 cents per share, compared with $1.09 billion, or 54 cents, in the year-ago period. Excluding beauty care and Zimmer operations, which it plans to divest, earnings per share jumped 16 percent to 57 cents from a year-ago profit of 49 cents.

Analysts on average had estimated the company — which said on Sept. 28 it would divest its Clairol beauty products unit and its Zimmer orthopedic device division in the next six to 12 months — would earn 61 cents per share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.

The company said total pharmaceutical sales for the period rose 12 percent to $3.6 billion, driven by an 18 percent jump in U.S. prescription drug sales. Pravachol sales climbed 16 percent to $446 million, breaking out of a trend in recent quarters of relatively flat growth. Sales of Glucophage rose 25 percent to $435 million, while sales of its Taxol drug for breast cancer rose 11 percent to $417 million.

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EBay Surpasses Estimates

The popular Internet auction site eBay Inc. reported third quarter earnings that surpassed Wall Street expectations.

The San Jose-based company earned $15.2 million, or 5 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with $1.2 million, or 1 cent per share, in the same period last year.

The earnings consensus of analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial was 4 cents per share.

During a conference call with analysts, eBay executives said they expected eBay’s robust growth to continue in the months ahead.

The company said it is comfortable with Wall Street’s expectation for a fourth quarter profit of 6 cents per share and forecast 2001 revenue of $630 million, roughly 50 percent higher than the projected amount for this year.

EBay is promising $3 billion in annual revenues by 2005.

“The best has yet to come,” eBay CEO Meg Whitman told analysts.

In the third quarter, eBay’s revenues totaled $113.4 million, a 94 percent improvement from $58.5 million in the prior year.

Through the first nine months of the year, eBay earned $24.4 million, or 9 cents per share, on revenue of $297.4 million. That compared to a profit of $5.8 million, or 2 cents per share, on revenue of $150.8 million in the comparable 1999 period.

EBay’s growth is being propelled by its steadily growing population of online traders. As of Sept. 30, eBay boasted 18.9 million registered users, up from 16 million as of June 30 and a 146 percent increase from the 7.7 million users signed up for the auction service in September 1999.

The service has become so pervasive that the eBay has become a piece of popular culture, getting almost daily mention in a wide range of media, from specialty publications to prime-time network TV dramas. eBay is now negotiating to broadcast its own TV show.

Perhaps the biggest danger facing eBay is that people will become bored with online auctions, warned Prudential Securities analyst Mark J. Rowen in a recently released report.

“While early indications appear to signal that the online auction format is here to stay, it is possible that in hindsight, we will view it as a passing fad,” Rowen wrote.

Rowen doubts that will happen though. He is recommending that investors buy the stock with a price target of $125.

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