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Tech Stocks This Week: Volatility Strikes Again

By Daniel Sparks – Oct 20, 2018 at 5:46PM

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Netflix and PayPal's earnings topped this week's stories.

In another volatile week, many tech stocks made some big moves over the past five trading days. Not only did the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rise as much as 2% before it ended the week down nearly 1%, but earnings season also sparked some particularly big swings. Notably, streaming-TV giant Netflix (NFLX 0.90%) and financial-technology company PayPal Holdings (PYPL 4.69%) both saw their shares jump sharply after their earnings releases.

Netflix stood out with its surging subscriber growth, while PayPal made headlines with its strong momentum in its peer-to-peer payment app, Venmo. Here's a closer look at both companies' third-quarter earnings releases.

A young couple watching TV

Image source: Getty Images.

Netflix adds 7 million members

Netflix impressed investors on Tuesday afternoon, when it crushed its guidance for member growth -- a metric investors were watching closely since net member additions were lower than expected in the company's second quarter. Shares shot about 10% higher during the trading day following the release.

Netflix net member additions for its third quarter were 6.96 million, significantly above management's forecast for net member additions of 5.15 million. Paid net member additions for the period were 6.07 million, higher than the 5.45 million paid members Netflix added in its second quarter.

Importantly, management expects this momentum in member growth to continue. Netflix guided for 9.4 million net member additions and 7.6 million net paid member additions in Q4.

PayPal's Venmo is hitting a "tipping point"

In the trading day following PayPal's third-quarter results, shares of the financial technology company also jumped about 10%. Not only did PayPal post better-than-expected revenue and earnings per share, but the company also lifted the low end of its guidance range for full-year revenue.

PayPal reported revenue of $3.68 billion, up 14% year over year and ahead of a consensus analyst estimate for revenue of $3.66 billion. Non-GAAP EPS was $0.58 -- up 28% year over year, beating an average analyst forecast for $0.54.

Perhaps even more notable than PayPal's strong revenue and earnings growth was the soaring growth its Venmo app saw. PayPal said Venmo processed $17 billion of total payment volume during the quarter -- up 78% year over year. In addition, during PayPal's third-quarter earnings call, CEO Daniel Schulman said the company's nascent monetization efforts with Venmo "appear to be reaching a tipping point."

Shulman explained:

24% of Venmo users have now participated in a monetizable action. This is up from 17% one quarter ago and 13% in May of this year. Pay with Venmo monthly active users increased approximately 185% month-over-month in September versus August.

Looking ahead, management guided for full-year currency-neutral revenue to rise 17% to 18% year over year, up from a previous forecast for 16% to 18% growth. 

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix and PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool has the following options: short January 2019 $82 calls on PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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