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Amazon shares skyrocket after earnings beat

AMAZON RESULTS | 31 de enero de 2020

By Marc Arcas

San Francisco, Jan 30. (efe-epa).- Shares of Amazon skyrocketed on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, rising some 10 percent to more than $2,050 per share in after-hours trading, after the firm released better than expected earnings for 2019.

The company headed by Jeff Bezos between January and December 2019 made profits of $11.588 billion, some 15 percent more than during the previous year, bringing in a total of $280.522 billion, 20.45 percent more than the $232.887 billion it earned in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Seattle-based multinational earned $23.46 per share for the year, compared to the $20.68 per share it earned the year before.

A large part of the enthusiasm in after-market trading on Wall Street on Thursday was due to Amazon's earnings in the fourth quarter of 2019, including the Christmas season, which is typically the big earnings period for the tech giant.

During 4Q, amid frenetic consumer demand, Amazon exceeded analysts' predictions in almost all areas, with net sales coming in at $87.440 billion (compared to the consensus forecast of $86.020 billion) and earnings of $6.47 per share, far and away greater than the $4.03 in expected earnings per share.

The company said that this past Christmas season was the best in its history, despite the dispute it is having with one of the biggest US shipping companies, FedEx, whose shipping services it refused to offer as a delivery option to those selling products on its online platform.

Third parties who sell their merchandise online via Amazon can select what shipping company they want to use to deliver their products to buyers, including FedEx, UPS, the US Postal Service and Amazon's own delivery services.

That puts part of Amazon's business in direct competition with FedEx and the tech firm feels that the shipping company is "taking advantage" of the Amazon platform to increase its business volume at the expense of the Seattle-based company's services.

Although online sales continue to be Amazon's main business, its Cloud data center service, Amazon Web Services, considered to be a strategic asset for the company's future, experienced the most growth of all its elements, with an increase in billing of 37 percent.

The firm's operating income, before interest and taxes, totaled $14.451 billion, above the figure of $12.421 billion for 2018.

By markets, North America sales grew over the past 12 months by 20.8 percent, while sales in the rest of the world grew by 13.45 percent.

"Prime membership continues to get better for customers year after year. And customers are responding - more people joined Prime this quarter than ever before, and we now have over 150 million paid Prime members around the world," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.

The superb earnings results achieved by the company contrasted with the controversy that has arisen within the firm, which came clearly to the fore last Monday.

A total of 357 Amazon workers at that time publicly challenged the company and criticized its climate change policy, despite the fact - they said - that the company had threatened to fire anyone who went outside the firm's normal communication protocols.

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