Amazon revealed first quarter results Thursday that easily beat analysts’ expectations but followed up this piece of heady news with a warning its second quarter revenue and earnings will disappoint.
Indications of this forthcoming slowdown are apparent in Amazon’s Q1 numbers, which confirm a sharp slowdown in the company’s once dazzling growth rates in favor of boosting profits and net income. Q1 net income hit a record $3.6 billion, while the $4.4 billion operating profit represented a record 7.4 percent margin.
Analysts said the wider margins came from growth in Amazon’s cloud, advertising and third-party seller services. Profits here are larger but total sales are smaller.
Amazon said Q2 revenue and earnings might both fall short of analysts’ estimates. Amazon’s bottom line might be in for a big hit. The midpoint of the range Amazon provided for its Q2 operating profit was $1.2 billion below what analysts previously expected.
Amazon’s revenue slowdown was palpable across most of its businesses. Total Q1 revenue grew 16.9 percent compared to Q1 2018, which is the slowest expansion since the first quarter of 2015. Amazon’s North American revenue jumped 17 percent compared to last year’s 46 percent growth. International growth took a bigger hit, plunging to only 9 percent compared to the previous year’s 34 percent growth rate.
The growth slowdown in Amazon’s advertising business was dramatic. Revenue growth fell 34 percent to $2.7 billion after growing 60 percent in the past five quarters.
On the other hand, Amazon’s cloud service continued its solid growth with sales surging 41 percent. This growth number, however, was slower than last year’s 49 percent.
The key numbers in Amazon’s Q1 report:
Q1 revenue: $59.7 billion vs. $59.7 billion, according to Refinitiv. Amazon recorded $51.04 billion in sales in Q1 2018.
EPS: $7.09 vs. $4.72, according to analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Amazon booked a profit of $3.27 a share in Q1 2018.
Amazon Web Services: $7.7 billion vs. $7.7 billion, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet
Q2 revenue (company guidance): $59.5 billion to $63.5 billion. Analysts previously forecast sales of $62.37 billion for Q2. Amazon brought in $52.9 billion in sales in Q2 2018.
Q2 EPS (guidance): Amazon didn’t offer earnings guidance, but said it expected to post an operating profit ranging from $2.6 billion to $3.6 billion versus analysts’ expectations of $4.2 billion and earnings per share of $6.34. Amazon posted operating income of $3 billion and per share earnings of $5.07 in Q2 2018.
Up 28 percent so far this year, Amazon has been one of the best performing big tech stocks. It’s now the third most valuable company in the world, behind Microsoft and Apple.
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