Amazon Forecast Trumps Quarterly Earnings

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Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) reported first quarter 2013 results after markets closed today. The online retailer posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.18 and revenues of $16.07 billion. In the first quarter of 2012, Amazon reported EPS of $0.28 on revenues of $13.18 billion. Bookings totaled $229.82 million in the quarter, far short of $329.16 million in the year-ago quarter. The Thomson Reuters estimates called for EPS of $0.09 on $16.16 billion in revenue.

The company forecast second quarter revenues in the range of $14.5 to $16.2 billion, compared with the consensus estimate of $15.94 billion. Amazon also forecast operating income of between a loss of $340 million to a profit of $10 million. In the first quarter the company’s operating income was $181 million and net income totaled $82 million.

The fall in operating income is attributed to an estimated $340 million charge for stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets. But even the top end of the operating income estimate is not anywhere near a positive net income number. The current consensus EPS estimate calls for earnings of $0.22 a share. That’s hopeless.

Amazon’s CEO chose to beat the drums for the company’s Amazon Studios and its crowd-sourcing method for choosing which of 14 pilot programs to produce for the company’s streaming video programming. It does not bear repeating here.

Shares are up about 0.7% in after-hours trading, at $276.57 in a 52-week range of $191.60 to $284.72. Shares closed at $274.70 today. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $315.50 before today’s report.

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