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Amazon Posts Massive Q1 Earnings Beat, Shares Rocket to Record Highs

Jeff Bezos
CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Amazon reported $51.0 billion in sales for the first quarter and a net profit of $1.63 billion for the first quarter of 2018, dramatically topping already-high Wall Street expectations.

The company’s stock soared as much as 8% in after-hours trading, climbing above $1,600 per share to all-time highs. That came after Amazon shares closed up 4% prior to the earnings release.

Amazon’s net income, which more than doubled from the year-earlier period, translated into earnings of $3.27 per share. Wall Street consensus estimates had pegged Amazon’s Q1 revenue at $49.79 billion and EPS at $1.26.

Last week, CEO Jeff Bezos announced in his annual letter to investors that Amazon had surpassed 100 million members worldwide for Prime, the free-shipping program that includes Prime Video and other perks.

Amazon revenue grew 43% in the quarter. Backing out the $1.6 billion favorable impact from changes in foreign exchange rates during Q1, Amazon’s sales increased 39% compared with Q1 of 2017.

The company also issued upbeat guidance for Q2, projecting sales between $51 billion and $54 billion (up 34%-42% year over year) and operating income in the range of $1.1 billion to $1.9 billion (compared with $628 million in second quarter 2017).

Amazon Web Services, the cloud-based computing, storage and streaming division, once again showed stellar growth. AWS revenue of $5.4 billion in the quarter was up 49%, and operating income swelled 57% to $1.4 billion. Customers using AWS include Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video (naturally), as well as Disney’s BAMTech, Lionsgate, PBS and Hearst, among thousands of others.

Bezos called out AWS in remarks included with Amazon’s Q1 earnings announcement. “AWS had the unusual advantage of a seven-year head start before facing like-minded competition, and the team has never slowed down,” he said.

Amazon’s boffo earnings come after Donald Trump’s Twitter-fueled attacks on the ecommerce giant a few weeks ago. His vague threats to make life difficult for Amazon, based on his claim that Amazon doesn’t pay its fair share of taxes as well as his untrue assertions about the company’s deal with the U.S. Postal Service, drove the stock down as much as 13% but shares have since rebounded. Amazon has not commented on Trump’s attacks, which appear to be spurred by Bezos’ ownership of the Washington Post.