Shares of money transfer company MoneyGram International (NASDAQ:MGI) shot sharply higher in the first half hour of trading on Oct. 30. At one point that gain reached nearly 32%, though by 10 a.m. EDT or so the shares were up "just" 26%. The reason for the excitement was the company's after-market earnings release on Oct. 29.
There are a couple of notable takeaways from MoneyGram's third-quarter results. First, overall revenue was basically flat year over year in the period, but money transfer revenue was up roughly 5%. So the core of the company's business is doing OK (more on this in a second). Adjusted earnings, meanwhile, came in at $0.16 per share compared to an adjusted loss of $0.03 per share in the third quarter of 2019. That's a pretty notable improvement. Equally notable, however, was that analysts had been projecting adjusted earnings of $0.07, so MoneyGram handily beat Wall Street expectations -- something investors tend to get excited about.
One of the big highlights from the earnings release, meanwhile, was the rapid growth MoneyGram has seen in online transactions. The company's direct-to-consumer online offering saw transaction volume increase 111% year over year, with revenue growth up 114%. Management noted strong customer retention as well. That suggests that COVID-19 has provided a short-term boost to this business that might actually stick around. That update is probably just as exciting as the earnings beat.
Today's huge stock price gain has likely priced in a lot of good news at MoneyGram in a very short period of time. In fact, with the stock now up over 175% for the year, long-term investors should probably tread cautiously here.