Amazon shatters earnings expectations

Amazon shattered expectations when it reported second quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.78, when Wall Street was forecasting $1.11. Amazon also beat revenue predictions, posting $30.4 billion for the quarter when analysts were expecting $29.55 billion. Shares ticked up 2 percent in after-hours trading.

The company saw a significant increase in sales and profit from the same period last year. Net sales were up 31 percent and net income was $857 million, a large jump from last year’s $92 million. Amazon also spent many years unprofitable, while it invested in growth.

In a statement, CEO Jeff Bezos touted the early success of their Indian business. “The team in India is inventing at a torrid pace, and we’re very grateful to our Indian customers for their welcoming response.”

The company announced that it expects its revenue for the third quarter to be between $31 billion and $33.5 billion. Operating income had a wide range, forecasting somewhere between $50 and $650 million.

Amazon tends to make a lot of experimental bets. They’ve had early traction with their Alexa voice-activated personal assistant device. And they have also built up momentum in their Amazon Web Services division, providing storage and cloud services for many large businesses.

AWS has seen significant growth. The group accounted for $2.9 billion of Amazon’s quarterly revenue, up from $1.8 billion in the same period last year.

The company has built up a robust Prime business, where users pay annual subscriptions to get faster shipping and access to content like movies and music. Notably, Amazon created its own discount holiday last year called Prime Day. The sales day generated significant traction this year and will be included in next quarter’s earnings.

The earnings release referenced this year’s Prime Day, calling it “the biggest day ever for Amazon.” They said that worldwide orders grew by more than 60 percent when compared to last year’s inaugural day.

Amazon also touted the success of its Fire TV media player, its latest Kindle e-book reader, and its Amazon Dash buttons.

Other Amazon experiments have missed the mark, however. They did not find success with their Fire Phone and the company recently shut down their Gilt Groupe competitor, MyHabit.

Going forward, the company is betting that drone deliveries will cut down on costs and improve efficiency. Amazon is also expanding its grocery business.

The stock is up 43 percent in the past year. The company has a market cap of $355 billion.

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