Amazon profits fall short as company faces protests and monopoly fears

Amazon profits fall short as company faces protests and monopoly fears Inc on Thursday reported second-quarter profit below analysts' estimates, as the world's biggest online retailer spent more money on faster delivery of packages to Prime members.

Amazon also forecast that net sales will be between $66 billion and $70 billion for the current quarter.

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.

The company reported second-quarter earnings of $2.6bn, or $5.22 a share, up from $5.07 this time previous year but lower than analyst estimates of $5.57 per share, sending stocks falling in after-hours trading. Analysts were expecting $4.4 billion, according to analytics firm FactSet. "We've received a lot of positive feedback and seen accelerating sales growth", he said. The unit, which handles data storage and computing operations for other enterprises, raked in $8.4 billion in revenue in the second quarter, or 37% more than the year prior.

Amazon's slowing revenue growth has in part reflected the evolving nature of its business. Revenue clocked in at $63.4 billion, up 20% year-over-year.

Because of Amazon's enormous influence in the e-commerce sphere, it is widely believed that one-day delivery will become the new benchmark for online deliveries.

Earnings came in at $5.22, which may not compare to the $5.58 estimate.

O'Shea said the shift to one-day delivery for many Prime items "is an example of short-term pain for long-term gain, and is a necessary strategy to compete with brick-and-mortar's speed advantage to the customer".

CFO Olsavsky said revenue was strong in the quarter, though sales cycles fluctuate depending on the timing of customers' migration to the cloud.

Amazon's operating expenses surged about 21% in the quarter to $60.32 billion as it invested $800 million in the second quarter for its one-day delivery program.

Amazon has been delivering consistently robust profits in recent quarters after years of thin margins, as the company has grown into one of the world's most valuable, making Bezos the world's richest person. Without providing specifics (as is par for the course for Amazon) the company said Prime Day sales surpassed the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday take combined and claimed that it signed up more new Prime members on July 15 than any previous day and nearly as many on July 16.

The stock closed Thursday trading at $1,973.82, down 1%, before falling further after hours.

Amazon (AMZN) is slated to report earnings today after market-close, as investors look to see if the e-commerce and tech giant can maintain its momentum. The company had posted record profits for four consecutive quarters.

Net sales in North America, its biggest market, jumped 20% to $38.65 billion during the quarter.

These bets and others further afield, like its recent investments in electric and self-driving auto companies, show how Amazon has been happy to forgo short-term income for long-term gains.



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