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Amazon earnings grow but miss expectations, stock drops

January 30, 2014

Amazon's profit and revenue both grew in the latest quarter but its results fell below what Wall Street was expecting and shares of the world's biggest online retailer declined after-hours.

Amazon has long focused on spending the money it makes to grow its business and expand into new areas, from movie streaming to e-readers and even grocery delivery.

Investors have largely forgiven thin profit margins and zeroed in on the company's solid revenue growth and long-term prospects. It posted losses in two previous quarters due to rising operating costs.

Amazon said Thursday that it earned $239 million, or 51 cents per share, in the October-December period, which included the key holiday shopping period. That's up from $97 million, or 21 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue grew 20 percent in the fourth quarter, to $25.59 billion from $21.27 billion.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 74 cents per share on revenue of $26.05 billion, according to FactSet.

For the current quarter, Amazon is forecasting revenue of $18.2 billion and $19.9 billion. Analysts expect $19.67 billion.

Amazon also said it is considering a price increase for its popular Prime service, which currently costs $79 a year and offers free two-day shipping on most items. The company said it has not raised the price on Prime in the 9 years since its launch, even though shipping costs have increased and it has added new services, such as video streaming.

The company is considering raising the price of Prime by $20 to $40 in the U.S.

Shares of Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. fell $18.01, or 4.5 percent, to $385 in extended trading after the results came out. They had initially shed 10 percent.

The stock had closed regular trading up $18.81, or nearly 5 percent, at $403.01. The stock hit a record high of $408.06 last week.


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