Payment-processing company Square (NYSE:SQ) recently reported third-quarter earnings that surpassed expectations for the fifth time in a row. In addition to beating estimates on the top and bottom lines for the third quarter, Square posted impressive growth in its key business segment and increased its full-year guidance for revenue, earnings, and more.

Here's a rundown of the highlights of Square's earnings report -- and whether the stock still looks attractive at its record-high share price.

A toolbelt with a Square credit card reader attached to a mobile phone.

Image Source: Square.

The headline numbers

Square's adjusted revenue came in at $257 million. The company earned $0.07 per share. Both metrics handily beat analysts' expectations of $244.9 million and $0.05 per share, respectively.

Total revenue grew by 33% year over year, which is even better than the 26% year-over-year growth it achieved during the previous quarter. Adjusted revenue growth was even more impressive at 45% year-over-year growth, as compared with 41% growth  in Q2. In other words, Square isn't just maintaining its impressive growth rate – its growth is accelerating.

Square had a pretty impressive quarter

Looking beyond the headline numbers, the company's Q3 was quite strong all around. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Gross payment volume came in at $17.4 billion, representing 31% annual growth and a 6% jump over last quarter.
  • Subscription and service-based revenue, which includes things like Instant Deposit, Square Capital, and Caviar, grew by 84% year over year.
  • Square Capital originated $303 million in small business loans, which is 45% higher than a year ago. It's worth noting, however, that this could be interpreted as a negative result, as it's a decline from Q2.
  • The company launched Square Register, its first all-in-one hardware product. In other words, it doesn't require a third-party tablet or other mobile device to operate.

Perhaps most significantly, Square raised its full-year guidance thanks to the all-around strong performance.


2017 Guidance Range

Previous Guidance Range

Total net revenue

$2.18 billion to $2.19 billion

$2.14 billion to $2.16 billion

Adjusted revenue

$963 million to $966 million

$925 million to $935 million

Adjusted revenue growth (midpoint)



Adjusted EBITDA

$132 million to $135 million

$120 million to $128 million

Adjusted EPS (diluted)

$0.24 to $0.25

$0.21 to $0.23

Data Source: Square 3Q17 earnings report.

The stock price has roughly tripled in a year – is it still worth buying?

Despite all of the good news, Square's stock price pulled back a bit in the wake of the announcement, which isn't too surprising, given the stock's amazing run lately. Investors could simply be taking some profits.

SQ Chart

SQ data by YCharts

However, to be perfectly clear, this was a very strong quarter and it shows why the stock has performed so well.

I've written before that Square's market opportunity is massive, not just in terms of its core payment-processing business, but with the small-business ecosystem it is creating. If Square is successful at tapping into even a small fraction of its addressable market, the stock -- even at its current high price -- could still be a bargain for long-term investors.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.