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4 Reasons Shopify Soared on Earnings

By Danny Vena – May 1, 2019 at 6:03PM

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There was plenty to like, but investors focused on these factors most.

After bottoming out late last year, dragged down by the decline of the broader market, e-commerce platform Shopify (SHOP 0.64%) has come roaring back, with its share price growing by 90% in just over four months.

The company added to that performance, with its shares up another 8% Tuesday after Shopify reported the financial results of its first quarter. While there was a lot to like, here are four particularly strong reasons why Shopify's stock is soaring in the wake of its financial report.

The Shopify logo on a bag, which is sitting on a table next to a plant.

Image source: Shopify.

1. Better-than-expected results

Shopify reported revenue of $320.5 million, up 50% year over year, beating both analysts' consensus estimates and the company's own guidance, which topped out at $309.9 million and $310 million, respectively. This helped quell investor fears about the gradual slowing of revenue growth. 

The company's bottom-line results were similarly surprising. Shopify generated an adjusted operating loss of $1.4 million, far better than the $13 million loss the company forecast at the low end of its range. This resulted in adjusted earnings per share of $0.09, more than doubling last year's $0.04 per share, and sailing past analysts' expectations for a loss of $0.05 per share.

2. Strength across its business

Shopify delivered solid growth in both of its major business segments.

Subscription revenue grew to $140.5 million, up 40% year over year. This was driven by monthly recurring revenue (MRR) of $44.2 million, up 36% compared to the prior-year quarter, and now represents 14% of the company's total revenue.

Merchant solutions also shined, growing to $180 million, up 58% year over year. This was the result of soaring gross merchandise volume (GMV) of $11.9 billion, an increase of 50% compared to the year-ago quarter. The segment was also boosted by robust growth of Shopify Capital and Shopify Shipping.

3. Beat and raise

Investors seem to like nothing more than when a company exceeds expectations and raises its guidance for the year. That's precisely what Shopify did.

The company raised its full-year outlook in the wake of the quarter's performance. Shopify now expects revenue for 2019 in a range of $1.48 billion to $1.50 billion, up from its forecast of $1.46 billion to $1.48 billion issued just three months ago. It also doesn't hurt that the midpoint of Shopify's revenue guidance is now in line with the $1.49 billion expected by analysts for the year.

4. Continued robust growth

It isn't just the full-year forecast that has investors excited. For the second quarter, Shopify is guiding for revenue in a range of $345 million to $350 million, which would represent year-over-year growth of between 41% and 43%.

In order to put this into the context of investor sentiment, analysts anticipate revenue of $342.25 million, or growth of about 40% -- below management's guidance. Wall Street is also expecting adjusted earnings per share of $0.04.

Cashing in on e-commerce

The company has been faced with slowing revenue growth in recent quarters, and while it ticked slightly lower -- to 50%, down from 54% sequentially -- Shopify is still delivering on all the metrics that matter to investors. It's important not to get too caught up in the quarter-to-quarter mind game, and focus instead on the long-term trend away from brick-and-mortar sales and toward online purchases.

Shopify is providing the tools that help fuel that trend, which will be ongoing for years to come.

Danny Vena owns shares of Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Shopify. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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