Amazon Delivers Softer-Than-Expected Earnings; Stock Falls After Hours


Amazon reported second-quarter results that were a bit softer than Wall Street had expected, sending shares down more than 2% in after-hours trading.

The company said earnings came to $5.22 a share, well below the consensus forecast of Wall Street analysts of $5.57, according to Refinitiv. Revenue increased 20% to $63.4 billion in the second quarter, slightly ahead of estimates and up from $52.9 billion in second quarter 2018.

A 21% rise in expenses in the quarter, in part due to the push to roll out one-day delivery, dented profits.

Nevertheless, in the company’s earnings release, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos pointed to one-day delivery as a quarterly highlight. “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback and seen accelerating sales growth,” he said. “Free one-day delivery is now available to Prime members on more than ten million items, and we’re just getting started.”

The stock closed Thursday trading at $1,973.82, down 1%, before falling further after hours. It has advanced 28% in 2019 thus far, outpacing the 7% year-to-date gain in the S&P 500.

Regulatory scrutiny has kicked in for Amazon and other large tech firms in a serious way, after a decade or two of relative laissez-faire existence. The Department of Justice said this week it has launched an investigation into the business practices of tech companies to determine if they are anti-competitive. Facebook paid $5 billion and agreed to stricter controls in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

Prime Day — actually a two-day happening on July 15 and 16, was again the largest shopping event in company history, Amazon said. It was also the biggest event ever for Amazon devices, when comparing two-day periods. Amazon welcomed more new Prime members on July 15 than any previous day, and almost as many on July 16, making these the two biggest days ever for member signups.

Aside from restating recent programming announcement, the earnings release included no additional insights into Prime Video.

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