Amazon Reports More Profit In Q3, But Revenue Lag Hurts Stock

By Dawn C. Chmielewski, Dade Hayes

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Amazon followed up its milestone second quarter, in which profits topped $2 billion for the first time, with a more mixed third-quarter report.

The online retail giant posted a fourth consecutive quarter of $1 billion-plus profit. Earnings came in at $5.75 per share, far ahead of Wall Street’s consensus forecast of $3.14 and more than 10 times the prior-year quarter’s 52 cents.

While the company’s cloud computing and advertising businesses continue to show strength, revenue of $56.6 billion fell just short of Wall Street’s expectation of $57.1 billion. Amazon had guided for net sales of between $54 billion-$57.5 billion for the quarter.

Investors punished the company’s shares in after-hours trading, sending them down 5% to below $1,700 after a regular trading session when they jumped 7%. After blazing a path beyond $2,000 earlier this year, imputing a valuation of the company of $1 trillion, the stock price has fallen back a bit as tech stocks overall continue to get pummeled this fall.

This quarter includes Prime Day, one of Amazon’s biggest sales days of the year. Even though this year’s sale’s event was hampered by outages the company said it was the biggest shopping day in the company’s history. Sales exceeded Black Friday, Cyber Monday and last year’s Prime Day, the company reported.

Amazon also unveiled new hardware devices in the quarter, including an Alexa-powered Microwave, new Ring security cameras and a new gadget for the car.

On the content side, it touted the return of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package for a second season. It said there were more than 8 million combined viewers worldwide for the first 4 games on Prime Video and Twitch. Last season, the total over 11 games was 18 million.

The company also announced it would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all of its U.S. employees, a response to pressure applied by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has urged the company to pay workers a living wage. These new wages, which apply to more than 250,000 Amazon employees, including those who work at the Whole Foods grocery chain, take effect on November 1.

Investors will likely be listening to guidance to learn how this change might impact results.

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