E-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN) outperformed analysts’ profit estimates for the first quarter, with North American sales driving earnings higher.
- Earnings per share of $0.31 easily beat expectations of $0.22.
- North American e-commerce powered revenues, while global sales struggled on FX rates.
- AWS cloud demand was robust with 16% sales growth for the year.
The company’s shares jumped more than 6.6% after announcing a strong beat on earnings with a net income of $3.2 billion, or 31 cents per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $3.8 billion, or $0.38 per diluted share a year ago. That was much stronger than analysts’ predictions of $2.39 billion, or 22 cents a share. Amazon was expected to disappoint with a slowdown in its AWS cloud services and operating income for the segment came in at $5.1 billion versus $6.5 billion in the same period a year ago, despite 16% sales growth.
Amazon posted a 9% gain in net sales to $127.4 billion, which was driven by an 11% growth in North American e-commerce sales to $76.9 billion. That helped to offset disappointing international sales which could only produce a 1% gain for the company, due to an 8% hit on unfavorable foreign exchange rates. Operating cash flow also increased 38% to $54.3 billion, compared with $39.3 billion for the trailing twelve months to the end of March.
Management also cheered investors with a sales forecast of between $127 and $133 billion for the second quarter, which was largely in line with expectations. Despite the strong operating performance, Amazon announced yesterday that it was shutting down its Halo Health service, while cutting jobs. That will add to the 18,000 jobs that were cut in January, and another 9,000 that followed last month.
Amazon was the latest big tech company to announce a larger pivot toward artificial intelligence earlier in the month with AI language models available for the AWS platform. Known as Amazon Bedrock, the product lets customers boost their software with AI systems in a similar manner to OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot.