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Nasdaq Swings Down as PayPal Eases Lower, Etsy Tanks on Earnings

By Dan Caplinger - May 6, 2021 at 10:45AM

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Crosscurrents in the stock market continued on Thursday morning.

The stock market has been getting choppier in recent days, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -1.31%) once again found itself lagging behind other major market benchmarks on Thursday morning. Worries about the sustainability of the huge rally in growth stocks over the past year seemed to weigh on the Nasdaq in particular, which was down about 0.6% as of 10 a.m. EDT.

Earnings results kept coming fast and furious, and even solid reports were met with some skepticism. PayPal Holdings (PYPL -2.17%) delivered strong numbers that nevertheless weren't good enough to hold up to the market's broader decline, while Etsy (ETSY -3.18%) fell sharply following guidance that strongly suggested its high-growth phase had come to an end.

PayPal sees the cash

Shares of PayPal were down about half a percent after opening higher. The payment network's first-quarter results had a lot of good news despite the somewhat lackluster reception shareholders gave its report.

PayPal boasted its best first-quarter results in its history. Total payment volume climbed 50% to $285 billion, and that helped produce revenue topping $6 billion, rising 31% year over year. Adjusted earnings of $1.22 per share jumped an even more impressive 85% from year-ago levels. The network has done a great job of attracting new customers, with 14.5 million new active accounts bringing PayPal's total to 392 million.

PayPal also expects the good times to continue. It sees total payment volume rising around 30% throughout fiscal 2021, resulting in roughly 20% gains in sales. Adjusted earnings per share should see a similar 21% boost, with new guidance calling for $4.70 per share. PayPal believes it'll bring in roughly 52 million to 55 million new accounts this year.

CEO Dan Schulman indicated that its innovative new products and services along with the greater shift toward a digital economy are helping PayPal develop greater momentum. That's a definite positive, and even with the stock not gaining much ground, the news bodes well for PayPal's longer-term future.

Miniature shopping cart full of boxes on top of a laptop keyboard

Image source: Getty Images.

Etsy unravels on growth concerns

Elsewhere, shares of Etsy dropped more than 13%. The craft-oriented e-commerce marketplace posted another amazing quarter of growth, but the company expects things to slow down considerably during the remainder of 2021.

Etsy's backward-looking numbers remained impressive. Gross merchandise sales soared 132% to $3.1 billion, with sales per buyer on Etsy's namesake marketplace climbing 20% year over year. About 16.3 million new and reactivated buyers came onto the platform, and the number of habitual buyers tripled. Revenue soared 142%, and earnings jumped tenfold to $1 per share.

However, investors weren't comfortable with what Etsy projected for its immediate future. Second-quarter guidance called for Etsy's year-over-year gross merchandise sales growth to slow to just 5% to 15%, with the raw $2.8 billion to $3.1 billion range potentially coming in below first-quarter figures. Similarly, revenue of $493 million to $536 million would be up just 15% to 25% from year-ago levels, showing that the great acceleration in Etsy's growth is likely to come to an end.

CEO Josh Silverman tried to keep up the excitement level. "We'll keep the pedal to the metal in 2021," Silverman said, "to continue to improve our customer experiences, make Etsy top-of-mind for the millions of buyers who have found Etsy for the first time or are relying on us now more than ever, and further invest in our very large market opportunity." Nevertheless, shareholders have seen Etsy come a long way in the past year, and they'll need more reassurance before they'll be confident about the e-commerce company's prospects for 2021 and beyond.

Dan Caplinger owns shares of PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Etsy and PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $75.0 calls on PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

PayPal Holdings, Inc. Stock Quote
PayPal Holdings, Inc.
$94.17 (-2.17%) $-2.09
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
$12,479.29 (-1.31%) $-165.17
Etsy, Inc. Stock Quote
Etsy, Inc.
$108.42 (-3.18%) $-3.56

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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