Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Weak Amazon, Alphabet results spark growth worries

Amazon sinks as revenue growth disappoints Amazon's Prime Day boost couldn't save it from disappointing sales
Lloyd Bates | 27 October, 2018, 03:57

Olsavsky said Amazon has baked the wage increases into its fourth quarter guidance, which came in under investor expectations, but he would not quantify its impact on the company's financials.

Google has been fined $7.7 billion for antitrust violations in Europe over the last two years, and heightened attention on privacy, security, competition and the rise of artificial intelligence tools has led investors to fret about potentially costly regulatory scrutiny in the United States and elsewhere.

Heading into the print, Stifel analyst Scott Devitt has raised his near- and long-term revenue estimates for Amazon's retail, advertising, and AWS businesses and modestly increased his margin forecasts.

But Alphabet's revenues fell short of forecasts, rising 21 percent to $33.7 billion in the three months ending in September, compared with the same period a year earlier. In the same period a year ago, the company earned 52 cents a share. Amazon is poised to benefit from that shift, capturing nearly half of all US online sales, according to EMarketer Inc.

In the latest quarterly reports, Microsoft's cloud computing business Azure marked revenue growth of 76 percent, down from 89 percent in the previous quarter. We know that Amazon has reported $33.7 million net product sales and $22.8 million in net service sales this past quarter for example, but there's no meaningful breakdown of how that's divided in the company. Amazon has relied on the growth of its Prime members, estimated at about 97 million in the US, who pay fees in exchange for shipping discounts, video streaming and other services.

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Those results were inflated by the company's acquisition of Whole Foods.

The Waymo operation in Phoenix is in the early stages of testing pricing, Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said on a conference call on Thursday, noting that some employers were sponsoring workers' rides. It has opened AmazonGo stores - which sell sandwiches, salads and grocery items - in San Francisco and Chicago.

In a prepared statement, CEO Jeff Bezos also pointed to the growth of Amazon Business, its marketplace for business customers.

While Amazon's sales forecast missed estimates, US shoppers are projected to increase their online spending by as much as 22 per cent this holiday season, according to Deloitte Insights. Analysts had forecast $3.11 per share.

Riding on its Cloud business, retail giant Amazon.com saw its net sales increasing 29 per cent to $56.6 billion in the third quarter this year, compared with $43.7 billion in third quarter of 2017.

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