What happened

Shares of payments technology company Global Payments (GPN -1.79%) are getting destroyed today, down 10% in 1:50 p.m. EDT trading despite the fact that the company just "beat earnings" in its third-quarter earnings report this morning.

Analysts had forecast Global Payments would earn $2.14 per share (adjusted) on sales of less than $2 billion this past quarter. In fact, Global Payments reported profits of $2.18 per share and sales of $2.2 billion.  

White arrow declining sharply atop a stock ticker tape display bathed in red.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

CEO Jeff Sloan pointed out that Global Payments' results were a "record" for a Q3 report, with sales up nearly 15% year over year. And granted, when calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), Global Payment's net profit amounted to only $1.01 per share -- not the $2.18 pro forma figure. But even so, those net profits climbed 36.5% year over year.  

Helping to contribute to the spike in profits was a 310 basis point improvement in operating profit margin -- now 18.2%.

Now what

Guidance-wise, Global Payments assured investors that the company is on track to record pro forma earnings of anywhere from $8.10 to $8.20 per share by the end of this year -- well above the $8.02 per share that Wall Street was looking for. The company's positive forecast implies it will "beat earnings" again in Q4.

About the only black mark -- and it's really more of a faded, light gray -- was on revenue guidance. Global Payments guided toward $7.71 billion to $7.73 billion in revenue for all of fiscal 2021, a range just shy of Wall Street's hoped-for $7.74 billion. Unfortunately, when you factor in the $210 million revenue "beat" from Q3, the company appears to imply it will "miss" on sales in Q4.

If you ask me, it's this warning of a sales miss that is weighing on the shares today.