Friday, 19 April, 2019

Amazon Shares Drop on Concerns of Rising Costs, India Growth

How Amazon's Stock Trades Following Q4 Earnings Amazon wage hike pays off as it reveals record profits
Russell Knight | 01 February, 2019, 23:27

Amazon's worldwide biz continues to be a drag on finances, the unit shifted $20.1bn in sales, up 12 per cent, but turned a $642m loss for the quarter. Analysts projected US$71.9 billion.

Amazon has forecast lower-than-expected sales for the first three months of the year sparking investor fears over slowing growth.

The company blamed unfavourable foreign exchange rates for first-quarter sales guidance that undershot analysts' estimates.

Shares of Amazon are up around 17% over the a year ago.

"At some point, they're going to have to look for more sales opportunities outside of traditional retail, otherwise the law of large numbers is going to have a greater impact on future sales growth", said Tom Forte, managing director and senior research analyst at D.A. Davidson.

"In 2018, we improved Alexa's ability to understand requests and answer questions by more than 20 per cent through advances in machine learning, we added billions of facts making Alexa more knowledgeable than ever, developers doubled the number of Alexa skills to over 80,000, and customers spoke to Alexa tens of billions more times in 2018 compared to 2017".

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Worldwide shipping costs increased 23 percent in the fourth quarter, outpacing online sales growth and highlighting the strain of free shipping promotions Amazon launched to fend off competition from Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. over the holidays. A lucrative cloud computing business, as well as fees that merchants pay Amazon to ship and advertise their products, has fattened the company's once-thin profit margin.

AWS revenues were $7.43bn on the quarter, up 46 per cent year-on-year, while operating income for the cloud biz was $2.2bn, up 63 per cent. On Thursday, Amazon reported that Amazon Web Services generated $7.4 billion in revenue, up 45 percent year over year.

Amazon stock was up almost 3 per cent Thursday evening and closed for the day at US$1,718.73 per share. Earnings surged to $3 billion, or $6.04 a share, handily beating analysts' expectations of $5.67, according to Yahoo Finance.

Market capitalization. Grew to $840 billion Thursday afternoon, more than Microsoft, Apple, or any other publicly traded company. Amazon in October pledged to pay all of its warehouse employees at least $15 an hour, while eliminating some bonuses and stock awards.

The better-than-expected results were offset in part by a disappointing outlook for sales growth in the current quarter. Sales in physical stores, which are predominantly Whole Foods locations, decreased 2.7 percent to $4.4 billion. AWS accounted for 10 percent of the company's net sales in the quarter, up from 8 percent in the year-earlier period.

Amazon has historically delivered relatively little profit as it fulfills Bezos's strategy of investing to stay ahead. The success of Amazon has made Mr Bezos, 55, chief executive, the world's richest...

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