PayPal First-Quarter Outlook Lags Wall Street Estimates

PayPal reported fourth-quarter net income per share fell 12% on 17% higher revenue. The payment processor's first-quarter outlook came up short of Wall Street's estimates.
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Payment processor PayPal (PYPL) - Get Report reported fourth-quarter net income per share fell 12% on 17% higher revenue. 

The company's first-quarter outlook lags Wall Street's expectations.

In the quarter, the San Jose, Calif., company earned 43 cents a share, compared with 49 cents in the year-earlier quarter. The latest adjusted earnings were 86 cents a share.

Revenue reached $4.96 billion from $4.23 billion.

A survey of analysts by FactSet produced consensus estimates of profit of 44 cents a share, or an adjusted 83 cents, on revenue of $4.94 billion.

In the quarter PayPal added 9.3 million net new active accounts. That brought its total active accounts to 305 million, up 14% from a year earlier.

Payment volume totaled $199 billion, up 22% on a foreign-currency-neutral basis. PayPal processed 3.5 billion payment transactions, up 21%.

For the first quarter PayPal expects GAAP earnings to range from 16 cents to 21 cents a share, or an adjusted 76 cents to 78 cents. Revenue should come in at $4.78 billion to $4.84 billion.

In the first quarter, PayPal said, "the dilutive impact of acquisitions" on GAAP earnings per share is estimated at 41 cents to 43 cents.

FactSet's survey was looking for GAAP net of 56 cents a share, or an adjusted 82 cents, on revenue of $4.85 billion.

Late in December PayPal Chief Financial Officer John Rainey told The Wall Street Journal that in 2020 the company will be scouting additional takeover targets.

Last month, PayPal bought 70% of the Chinese payment platform GoPay. Early in January it closed the $4 billion cash purchase of Honey Science, a provider of tools that enable consumers to find the lowest prices on products they want to buy.

And last week the company said it partnered with UnionPay of Shanghai to grow digital payments in China and internationally.

Analysts generally are positive on PayPal's prospects, with Bloomberg data showing 38 analysts rating the stock a buy, six pegging it a hold, and one calling it a sell.

Before the earnings report, Barclays analyst Ramsey El-Assal and J.P. Morgan analyst Tien-tsin Huang both affirmed the stock overweight. El-Assal's target is $135 while Huang calls $123.

On Jan. 24 Credit Suisse initiated coverage of PayPal at outperform with a $135 price target.

A day earlier, the company was affirmed overweight at Morgan Stanley with the price target raised to $137 from $129.

At last check after hours PayPal shares were trading down 2.6%. They closed the regular Wednesday session little changed at $116.66.

PayPal shares in the past year have run up 26%. And they have risen 7.8% in 2020 to date.