What happened

Singapore-based e-commerce, payments, and online-gaming company Sea Limited (NYSE:SE) dropped 3.5% through 2:45 p.m. EST Tuesday afternoon after reporting mixed results for its fiscal Q3 2021.

Analysts had forecast Sea would lose $0.65 per share on less than $2.5 billion in sales for the quarter. As it turned out, Sea booked sales of $2.7 billion -- but lost $0.84 per share in the process. 

Person holding head in dismay in front of a stock chart showing a red arrow going down

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Not all the news was bad. Sales for the quarter not only exceeded expectations but rocketed 122% year over year. Gaming revenue grew 93%, payments were up 111%, and e-commerce did best of all -- up 134% year over year.

Gross profit margins on those sales were also up, and gross profits at the company therefore outperformed sales growth, rising 148%. Nevertheless, Sea Limited also doubled its spending on research and development and sales and marketing, and these higher operating costs prevented the company from turning a profit.

To the contrary, quarterly losses grew by 34%. 

Now what

Don't expect that to change -- or at least not soon. In updating its guidance for the rest of this year, Sea Limited said this morning that it's "for the second time raising the guidance for e-commerce for the full year of 2021," and forecasting 135% year-over-year growth to between $5 billion and $5.2 billion. The company didn't give any guidance for profits, however, and investors, therefore, probably shouldn't expect to see any profit at all.

On the plus side, though, 135% revenue growth at e-commerce is even faster growth than the company just reported for Q3, suggesting that in one respect, at least, Sea Limited is still growing quickly and even accelerating its growth.

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