Amazon Posts Big Q4 Earnings Beat, Weak Q1 Sales Guidance (NASDAQ:AMZN)

Amazon also heightened its spend on marketing going through AWS over the last few months, said Dave Fildes, Amazon's director of investor relations.

On Thursday, the retail giant announced its sales were up 20 per cent in the last quarter to US$72.4 billion.

Net Income of $3bn was was up 58 per cent from $1.9bn in the year-ago quarter.

Ahead of Amazon's earnings announcement, there were plenty of concerns that the 25-year-old e-commerce phenom was finally starting to act its age.

Most importantly for investors, Amazon's cloud-computing division said revenue jumped 45% in the fourth quarter, cementing its lead over Google and Microsoft. Bezos has been pushing beyond the low-margin business of selling goods online into more profitable categories like cloud computing and advertising. That should please Wall Street, but also indicates that Amazon may not pursue as many new projects as it has before - though there are still plenty.

While growth in Amazon's maturing North American business slowed, the company's global sales picked up steam after it threw resources behind markets such as India and Australia. Both are double-digit improvements over the previous year.

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Advertising is another fast-growing source of revenue for Amazon.

Revenues of $232.9bn were up by 31 per cent from $177.9bn past year. Its fourth-quarter profit was just below the earnings the company recorded for the entire year in 2017. Last year, global revenues were $54.3bn and operating loss was $3.1bn. However, this guidance was below expectations-Amazon blames an "unfavorable impact of ... foreign exchange rates"-sending its stock price tumbling". In discussing the results with analysts on a conference call, Amazon execs said AWS had added a number of tech and sales positions, while CEO Jeff Bezos said earlier that Alexa had bolstered its roster of boffins. He said that the number of research scientists working on Alexa has more than doubled in the past year.

There's always some fly in the ointment, of course.

Inc.'s sales and earnings in the busy holiday quarter beat analysts' estimates, showing the world's biggest web retailer can maintain rapid growth while improving profitability and fending off online competition from rivals like Walmart Inc.

US -based e-commerce giant Amazon posted its Q4 2018 earnings on Thursday, revealing that the company's net sales totaled $72.4 billion United States dollars (roughly $90.07 billion CAD) for the quarter that ended on December 31st, 2018.

Despite the overall strong year and ability to convert customer spending into profit, investment analysts were disappointed with the tech titan's estimated $56-60bn Q1 2019 revenue outlook (they hoped for $61bn). Amazon projected first-quarter growth to hit between 10 and 18 per cent compared to the same period past year.

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