What happened

The stock market was having a strong rally on Election Day, with all three major averages higher by at least 1% at 9:45 a.m. EST Tuesday. However, fintech giant PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ:PYPL) was moving in the opposite direction, with shares down by about 5% shortly after the market opened.

So what

PayPal reported its third-quarter earnings after the market closed on Monday, and the results were quite strong. Revenue soared by 25% year over year and the company posted $1.07 in adjusted EPS, an impressive 41% increase. And PayPal had 361 million active accounts at the end of September, adding more than 15 million during the third quarter alone.

Couple using laptop and holding credit card.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company processed nearly a quarter-trillion dollars ($247 billion) in payments during the quarter, a 36% year-over-year gain fueled by the increase in e-commerce demand in 2020. In fact, the third quarter saw the strongest payment volume and revenue growth ever for PayPal.

So why are PayPal's shares down?

The answer is that the company's guidance for the fourth quarter was weaker than investors would have liked. The company is projecting revenue growth in the 20% to 25% range, which implies that at the high end, growth would simply match that of the third quarter.

Now what

The stock market looks forward, and therefore companies' future guidance tends to have as much or more of an impact on share prices as the actual results. And that's what we're seeing in PayPal. But to be clear, nothing much has changed from a long-term perspective, and there is little to be disappointed about in PayPal's third-quarter results.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.