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Why Square Stock Popped 27% in January

By Chris Neiger – Updated Apr 10, 2019 at 2:36PM

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Investors were optimistic about the company's latest moves.

What happened

Shares of the financial tech company Square (SQ -1.63%) rose 27.2% last month, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, after the company launched two new services and announced that it had hired a new CFO to run its financial operations.

So what

Square's share price first jumped at the beginning of the month when the company announced that it had hired Amrita Ahuja as its new chief financial officer. Ahuja was the former CFO of Blizzard Entertainment, which is part of Activision Blizzard, and investors were likely optimistic -- as were some analysts -- that the new hire would be beneficial for Square as the company grows.

Paper rocket ship flying on a graph.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company's share price continued its climb in January when Square announced new software that would allow companies to collect in-app payments through its platform. The move means that Square now accepts online, in-person, and mobile app payments, the latter of which is key to helping the company increase its transactions from larger companies that have their own apps.

Check out the latest Square earnings call transcript.

Investors were also pleased to hear at the end of the month that Square had launched a debit card for small businesses. The free card allows users to spend their balances immediately after a transaction has been completed through Square, instead of waiting several days (which is what vendors have to do now). The cards should also help Square keep small business tied to its ever-expanding ecosystem of financial services.

Now what

The company's share price has been relatively flat so far in February, but that may change when the company reports its fourth-quarter 2018 results on Feb. 27. Square's management expects total revenue in the range of $895 million to $905 million for the quarter, which would be a 59% increase at the midpoint from the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, management said total sales for the year would be $3.26 billion to $3.27 billion, a jump of 60% at the midpoint. All of this means that Square's investors might see yet another share price bump in the coming weeks if the company delivers on its strong guidance.

Chris Neiger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Activision Blizzard and Square. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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