Amazon's quarterly profits break $2bn barrier for first time

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The world's largest e-commerce company said third-quarter operating income will surge to as much as US$2.4 billion, compared with the average analyst estimate of US$1.28 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its stock is already up almost 72 percent in the previous year, and Amazon is getting closer to surpassing iPhone maker Apple as the world's most valuable company.

The online giant saw net sales up 39% to $52.89bn (£40.3bn) from $37.96bn (£29bn) a year earlier, driven by a rise in online shopping and higher demand for its cloud services.

The Wall Street analyst was asking about the following metric reported in Q2 earnings on Thursday: in the second quarter of 2017, paid unit growth had grown by 27%. Worldwide losses fell for the first time since 2016 on a quarter-on-quarter basis, while global sales also grew strongly, as the company opened up in new markets, and also launched new devices in India and other countries. The division jumped to more than $6 billion in sales for the quarter as it continues to dominate the public cloud computing market in the face of competition from Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOGL).

Inc. on Thursday reported a record profit and forecast plowing past analyst estimates, strutting how its lucrative cloud computing and advertising businesses were helping it overcome the high costs of retail.

Amazon's total costs increased almost 37 per cent in the three months ending in June to $49.9bn, as the firm invested heavily into its premium service Prime across its online video, warehouse and delivery infrastructure.

Amazon stock ticked up 3% in after hours trading.

Amazon just posted an insane earnings-per-share beat

Chief executive and founder Jeff Bezos, whose Amazon stake has made him the world's richest person, used the quarterly update to highlight Alexa, the digital assistant that powers Amazon electronics along with cars, appliances and other connected devices.

Coming off a "very high investment period" past year, Amazon was "looking at our fixed headcount, and how can we move people to our new investment areas", he said. Web services generated $6.1 billion in revenue, a 49 percent increase from the same period a year ago.

Apparel, in particular, could prove to be a major growth area for Amazon over the medium-to-long term.

"It was a strong quarter", Brian Olsavsky, Amazon's chief financial officer, said on a conference call with analysts.

Amazon's momentum has been strong enough to sustain Twitter broadsides from U.S. President Donald Trump, who has accused Amazon of freeloading off the U.S. Postal Service and using the Washington Post as a lobbying tool against antitrust criticism. Facebook shares plunged 20 percent after missing its revenue forecast; Twitter shares dropped by 17 percent after reporting a user decline. While Amazon did not disclose new stats for the quarter, more than 100 million people pay for Amazon's subscription service, which includes two-day shipping and access to a growing slate of TV shows and movies.

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