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Why Square Stock Was Up 36% in November

By Jon Quast - Dec 3, 2020 at 1:59PM

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A strong quarterly report and business expansion fueled investor optimism throughout the month.

What happened

Shares of financial-technology company Square ( SQ -0.88% ) were up 36.2% in November, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company started the month by releasing results for the third quarter of 2020 that crushed expectations. But throughout the month, it made moves highlighting what kind of business Square is building long term.

So what

Square has two main sides of the business. One side powers small businesses (Seller), and the other provides fintech solutions for individuals (Cash App). In Q3, Square's overall net revenue exploded 140% higher year over year to $3 billion. Considering the ongoing challenges for small businesses in the U.S., this growth surprised a lot of investors. 

A young man is excited with money raining down around him.

Image source: Getty Images.

Square's outsized growth didn't come from its Seller segment. Seller revenue was only up 5% year over year. The real growth came from the Cash App business. Cash App revenue was up an astonishing 574% from the prior-year period. Granted, a lot of this was from bitcoin (cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have been popular lately). However, Square facilitates bitcoin transactions at cost, so it gets excluded from adjusted revenue metrics. But even without bitcoin, Square Cash App revenue was up 174%. The stock surged higher on these positive results. 

Now what

More important than any one quarter is what Square is building. For its Seller business, Square launched its Kitchen Display System (KDS). Square KDS is a system for restaurants to integrate orders from multiple sources -- a handy product considering how many small restaurants are struggling with the logistics of to-go orders these days. 

For its Cash App business, Square acquired Credit Karma's tax business for $50 million. This will be complementary service to what the company already provides individuals and could provide further incentive for consumers to start using Square for the first time.

In short, Square is actively pursuing ancillary products and services for both sides of its business, which only strengthens its long-term prospects. Therefore, it's not surprising to see how much the stock went up in November. 

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.

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