Payments processor Square posts surprise loss, signals COVID-19 hit in second quarter

(Reuters) - Square Inc SQ.N reported a suprise loss in the first quarter and stayed away from issuing a forecast for the current quarter as well as for the full year on Wednesday, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a sharp fall in financial transactions on its payments platform.

Shares of the company fell 6% to $63.97 in extended trading after Square said it expected a “material impact” in its second quarter due to the pandemic.

Sellers on its platform experienced a significant slowdown in the last two weeks of the quarter, with seller gross payment volume tumbling 35% from a year earlier, Square said.

Quarterly loss nearly tripled to $105.89 million, or 24 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $38.15 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Square reported a loss of 2 cents, compared to profit expectations of 13 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Reporting by Bharath Manjesh and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi