Amazon wage hike pays off as it reveals record profits

How Amazon's Stock Trades Following Q4 Earnings

Revenue was US$72.4 billion in the fourth quarter, the e-commerce giant said Thursday in a statement.

Revenue in its Amazon Web Services cloud business surged 45.3 per cent to US$7.43 billion to beat estimate of US$7.26 billion.

If there was any qualm about the health of Amazon's cloud business, it was a slight decline in the whopping 32 percent margins posted in the previous quarter.

Mr Saunders said the firm's profits were also "impressive". First-quarter operating income will be US$2.3 billion to US$3.3 billion, in line with analysts' estimates of US$2.99 billion. Net income was US$6.04 per share, compared with an average estimate of US$5.56.

"In 2018, we improved Alexa's ability to understand requests and answer questions by more than 20% 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", Bezos said.

Net income jumped 63 percent to $3 billion for the fourth quarter, ahead of analysts' estimates.

Shoppers will spend US$484 billion globally on Amazon this year, up 26 per cent from 2018, and the Seattle-based company will capture more than half of all online spending in the USA, according to EMarketer Inc.

Strength in online sales over the holiday period showed Amazon still has room to grow in its core business and is benefiting from excitement around its new devices, said Ron Josey, an analyst at JMP Securities.

Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos pointed to sales of Echo Dot devices in 2018 and said "Alexa was very busy during her holiday season".

For the full year, net sales increased 31% to $232.9 billion. But industry watchers expected other factors, like Whole Foods' slower growth, to finally catch up, causing its sales to dip below that 20 percent rate for the first time in over three years, according to data compiled by CSI Market.

On a 30-minute earnings call with analysts, Bezos' planned split from wife MacKenzie never came up - despite brewing concerns over how the couple of 25 years might divide up their 16 percent stake in Amazon and whether Bezos' role in the company could change as a result. Advertising and AWS are Amazon's fastest-growing segments, and the two are increasingly being used in tandem by marketing technology companies and ad agencies.

Amazon's profits were up dramatically year-over-year as well.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is pictured inside the company's office in Bengaluru, India, April 20, 2018. But those results still fell short of Wall Street's expectations, even despite the broadly-popular discount event, Prime Day.

Amazon also has been growing its sales from physical stores, including its recently acquired Whole Foods grocery chain.

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