Amazon Earnings Yield Mixed Results With Revenue Smash, Tepid Guidance

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The logo of Amazon is pictured inside the company's office in Bengaluru, India, April 20, 2018.

Amazon.com Inc. on Thursday forecast first-quarter sales below Wall Street estimates as new regulations in India created uncertainty around one of its key growth markets, dimming the online retailer's report of record holiday season profit.

Shares were down 4 percent in pre-market trading at 7:32 a.m.in New York Friday.

Olsavsky made the comment on the company's fourth quarter earnings call, responding to a question asking for an update on the company's ambitions in the video space.

In terms of the company's total sales, Amazon sold $232.9 billion Dollars (roughly $305.76 billion CAD) in 2018, representing an increase of 31 percent.

Amazon stock closed at $1,718.73 Dollars (roughly $2,256.62 CAD) at the end of the day's trading.

A large chunk of the company's hiring has gone to Amazon Web Services, its lucrative business selling data storage and computing power in the cloud.

This time past year, sales were $5.1bn and operating income was $1.35bn.

Amazon's cloud business AWS is earning the company big bucks. That's $1.7 billion more than the 2017 holiday quarter, a 23 percent increase.

EPS came in at $6.04 on revenue of $72.4 billion, compared to expectations of $5.65 per share on $71.61 billion in revenue.

The company in October predicted weak revenue for the holiday quarter - its biggest quarter of the year - though Olsavsky at the time said he expected "a strong holiday season".

"Amazon's Q4 was impressive on multiple fronts, with the strength of AWSalmost becoming a "broken record" as it continued to generate nearly geometric sales growth with still-high margins, more than offsetting investment-impacted global operating losses", said Charlie O'Shea, lead analyst for Amazon at Moody's.

While this was better than analysts had expected, it was still the slowest sales growth for the firm since the start of 2015.

Still, a tight labor market, rising shipping costs and money-losing investments overseas remain threats.

"History shows that Amazon has had limited success in exceeding Street expectations for revenue in 4Q, likely due to the lack of visibility at the time guidance is given, and difficulties in forecasting a high amount of sales volume in such a small window", Suntrust analysts wrote in a note to clients. Amazon in October pledged to pay all of its warehouse employees at least US$15 an hour, while eliminating some bonuses and stock awards.

Bezos pointed to the Amazon-branded Echo speakers that are at the heart of the new strategy. Amazon continues to rapidly ramp-up employment in AWS technology and sales and in its devices business.

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