Coverage: Amazon rises 6 percent after strong earnings
Amazon blew past street estimates for its fourth quarter earnings, reflecting strong holiday sales and growth in its cloud business, causing is stock price to rise 6 percent in after-hours trading.
Eugene Kim of CNBC.com had the news:
Amazon’s revenue, which includes sales from Whole Foods, jumped 38 percent year-over-year. Its North America revenue jumped 42 percent to $37 billion, while international sales grew 29 percent to $18 billion.
In a call with analysts, Amazon’s CFO Brian Olsavsky credited record order volume and improved warehouse efficiency during the busy holiday shopping season for the successful quarter. He also pointed out AWS’s continued expansion and said the advertising business was a “key contributor” in North American revenue growth.
Net income was $1.9 billion, or $3.75 per share, more than doubling from the same period of last year. Amazon noted that the fourth quarter earnings includes a tax benefit of roughly $789 million due to the change in U.S. tax code.
Amazon’s cloud unit, AWS, continued to be the fastest-growing and most profitable business of the company. For the quarter, AWS sales jumped 45 percent year-over-year, while generating $1.3 billion in operating income, a whopping 64 percent share of Amazon’s total operating income.
Jeffrey Dastin and Aishwarya Venugopal of Reuters reported that the profit and revenue was a record:
As expected, the period running from before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday through New Years was Amazon’s biggest-ever by revenue. Sales rose 38 percent to $60.5 billion in the quarter, beating estimates.
The company’s fast delivery, like its two-hour Prime Now service, has helped win over holiday shoppers eager to avoid the crowds of big box retailers. Prime saw more than 4 million sign-ups in one week alone last quarter, and revenue from subscription fees grew 49 percent to $3.2 billion, Amazon said.
That figure is expected to rise this quarter in part because the company recently raised the fee for month-to-month Prime plans, affecting some 30 percent of subscribers, according to analysts at Cowen & Co. Some 60 million, or close to half of all U.S. households, are estimated to have Prime subscriptions.
Dominic Rushe and Eric Helmore of The Guardian reported that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos saw his net worth rise by billions as a result:
Bezos owns about 16% of the company and has already added $20bn to his fortune this year, bringing his total net worth to more than $119bn.
Apple and Google were less fortunate. Apple’s shares wobbled in after hours trading despite announcing its best ever quarterly revenues. Investors have become spooked that sales of its flagship iPhone have stalled.
Amazon posted revenues of $60.5bn for the three months to the end of December, up from $43.74bn in the same period a year earlier.
The Seattle-based company reported net income of $1.9bn as it sold more voice-activated Echo devices and added more Prime members. The strong results were helped by consumers’ greater willingness to do their holiday shopping online and by Amazon’s cloud business, Amazon Web Services, a profit engine for the corporation that is growing at 40% despite increasing competition from Microsoft and Google.