Amazon's shares at all-time high after stellar Q1 result

Amazon's revenue has soared in recent years as shopping has moved online and businesses have moved their computing operations to the cloud, where Amazon Web Services is the biggest player.
Amazon's revenue has soared in recent years as shopping has moved online and businesses have moved their computing operations to the cloud, where Amazon Web Services is the biggest player.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO • Amazon.com's retail and cloud-computing sales rose in the first quarter, inching above Wall Street's expectations and sending the US company's shares to an all-time high in extended trading.

The world's largest online retailer on Thursday said net sales rose 23 per cent to US$35.7 billion (S$49.8 billion), just beating analysts' average estimate of US$35.3 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

More fees from Amazon's Prime shopping club and media streaming services, along with growing advertising revenue, also boosted results.

Profit, which has traditionally been fleeting at a company that focused on growth, was also ahead of expectations.

Net income rose 41 per cent to US$724 million, or US$1.48 per share, marking the eighth straight quarter that the company has posted a net profit.

Amazon's revenue has soared in recent years as shopping has moved online and businesses have moved their computing operations to the cloud, where Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the biggest player. AWS accounts for a majority of Amazon's operating profit.

Some investors worried that mounting competition from rival cloud providers like Microsoft Corp and price cuts at AWS would slow the company's momentum.

Many also expected Amazon's staggering array of investments - from new warehouses, TV and movie production to research on artificial intelligence - to weigh on profits.

But those fears proved unfounded for the first quarter.

"The core e-commerce segment remains very healthy," said Mr Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Baird Equity Research.

"Subscription services and advertising are growing much faster, and beginning to move the needle, which also helps increase profit margins."

Shares of the company rose 3.9 per cent to US$954 in after-hours trading, adding more than US$3 billion to the personal fortune of founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2017, with the headline 'Amazon's shares at all-time high after stellar Q1 result'. Print Edition | Subscribe