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After Hours: Square Guidance Disappoints, Icahn Enters Cloudera

By Eric Volkman - Aug 1, 2019 at 9:20PM

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The rapidly growing payments company is a victim of high expectations, while the veteran activist investor reveals a big stake in the cloud data services entity.

It almost seems as if today there's as much stock market news in the post-market hours as there was during the day. Combined with the usual slew of quarterly reports in the thick of this earnings season, there were a few other intriguing news items.

In this mix swirled Square (SQ -4.25%) and Cloudera (CLDR). Here's the skinny on the latest on those stocks.

A hand holding a smartphone over a Square terminal at the counter of a cafe.

Image source: Square.

Square Q2: Weaker-than-expected EPS guidance eclipses strong growth

Square, operator of the increasingly common payment terminals often seen at small and mid-sized businesses, reported its Q2 of 2019 results after market close.

For the quarter, Square posted adjusted net revenue of $563 million, which was 46% higher on a year-over-year basis. That was on the back of a 25% rise in gross payment volume, to $26.8 billion. On the bottom line, non-GAAP (adjusted) net profit landed just over $100 million ($0.21 per share) against the Q2 2018 figure of $62 million ($0.13).

Both results were good enough to beat the average analyst estimates, which forecast $557 million on the top line and a per-share net profit of $0.17.

Square reaped growth from its existing -- and seemingly ever-expanding -- suite of financial services and products aimed at small businesses. It also reported strong take-up of its Cash App peer-to-peer payment software, a relatively new product.

Concurrent to its results release, the company announced it had reached a deal to sell its Caviar food delivery system. The buyer is privately held delivery service DoorDash, and the price is $410 million in a mix of cash and DoorDash preferred stock.

Although those beats were convincing, Square came up a bit short with its Q3 earnings guidance. The company is estimating that it will book a per-share adjusted net profit of $0.18 to $0.20; analysts had collectively been expecting $0.22.

It seems after-market traders are focusing on that guidance disappointment rather than the strong growth in key Q2 fundamentals. Square stock is currently trading down by almost 7%.

Cloudera is now a Carl Icahn play

In a regulatory filing made after hours, high-profile activist investor Carl Icahn -- the leading light of his namesake Icahn Enterprises (IEP -1.84%) -- revealed that he has accumulated a large stake in Cloudera.

According to the filing, Icahn and entities associated with him and Icahn Enterprises collectively own a stake of 12.6% in the cloud data services company.

In the filing, it's stated that these entities "acquired their positions in the Shares in the belief that the Shares were undervalued. The Reporting Persons intend to seek to speak with representatives of the Issuer's board of directors and management to discuss enhancing shareholder value and potentially seeking board representation."

This is a classic Icahn move. For decades, he has followed the same method: Acquire a big stake in a struggling stock, then agitate for change in order to get the price moving north again.

Cloudera is a perfect target for Icahn. In June alone, Cloudera stock swooned by nearly 43% on the back of an earnings report that disappointed many investors; the resignation of CEO Tom Reilly didn't help improve sentiment.

Cloudera has not yet publicly commented on the news of Icahn's entry. Cloudera stock is trading up by over 13% at the moment; Icahn Enterprises stock is flat.

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Stocks Mentioned

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$50.56 (-1.84%) $0.95

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