Amazon Shares Dip 3% on Revenue Miss

Fourth-quarter net sales of $3.54 billion fell short of analysts' estimates but net income rose 55% to $749 million.
Matthew HellerFebruary 3, 2017
Amazon Shares Dip 3% on Revenue Miss

Amazon shares dropped more than 3% on Friday as a 55% increase in fourth-quarter profit couldn’t offset lower-than-expected revenue growth.

The online shopping giant posted net income was $749 million, or $1.54 a share, up from $482 million, or $1 a share, during the same period a year earlier. Analysts had forecast earnings of $1.34 a share.

Amazon’s profit benefited in particular from the growth of Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing business, which saw revenue jump 47% to $3.54 billion and operating income increase almost 60% to $926 million.

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Overall, net sales rose 22% to $43.7 billion but missed analysts’ estimates of $44.7 billion. With Amazon’s first-quarter guidance also being lower than expected, its shares fell 3.5% to $810.20 on Friday, which followed a drop of more than 4% in after-hours trading Thursday.

“There were great expectations, and they failed to impress,” Christian Magoon, chief executive of Amplify Exchange Traded Funds, which owns Amazon shares, told The New York Times.

Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said revenue fell short of expectations in part because of fluctuations in foreign currency. While Amazon had told analysts to expect a favorable impact of $230 million on its revenue from currency fluctuations, the changes produced a negative impact of $558 million.

RJ Hottovy, senior retail analyst at Morningstar, told CNBC that part of the revenue miss might also be Amazon’s “ongoing shift to being a third-party marketplace. When that happens, you’re not getting as much of the revenue in there.”

As far as the bottom line, though, sales stemming from its third-party sellers are nearly pure profit margin because Amazon doesn’t have to buy and hold the product itself.

For the first quarter, Amazon is expecting net sales growth of between 14% and 23% but The Wall Street Journal suggested that its streak of seven profitable quarters “may come under pressure as the company enters a heavier period of investment.”

Last month, Amazon pledged to create 100,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. by mid-2018, which would require investing in many more warehouses.

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