Photograph by Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images
stock (ticker: AMZN) slipped in after-hours trading after the e-commerce giant reported fiscal record fourth-quarter earnings, but offered a first-quarter outlook below expectations.
The back story. What's not to like? Amazon has built a diversified powerhouse in e-commerce (tops in holiday sales), cloud services (Amazon Web Services), bricks-and-mortar (the acquisition of Whole Foods Market and launch of Go storefronts), and digital advertising (No. 3 world-wide, behind only Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google and
"Amazon remains one of our favorite long-standing ideas for 2019," Loop Capital Markets, which has a Buy rating and $ 2,200 price target, said in Jan. 17 note.
The only cautionary note heading into the call was that Amazon has a history of missing lofty holiday expectations.
The numbers. Late Thursday, Amazon reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $ 6.04 a share, beating Wall Street's forecast for $ 5.63. Revenue of $ 72.4 billion also topped expectations for $ 71.87 billion. (In the same quarter a year ago, Amazon reported earnings of $ 3.75 per share on $ 60.5 billion in revenue.)
However, Amazon forecast first-quarter net sales of $ 56 billion to $ 60 billion, lower than the $ 60.83 billion expected from analysts polled by FactSet.
"Alexa was very busy during her holiday season. Echo Dot was the best-selling item across all Amazon products globally, and customers purchased millions more devices from the Echo family compared to last year, "Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement announcing the results.
Historical context. The company has beaten analysts' earnings-per-share estimates five of the last eight fourth-quarter reports, but it has beaten sales estimates only once, a year ago.
Looking ahead. Amazon shares are down 0.3% in after-hours trading. The company is holding a conference call with analysts at 5:30 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Write to Jon Swartz at [email protected]