Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Amazon earnings jump as sales beat forecasts

Online retailer projects better-than-expected revenue for second quarter
By Dan Gallagher, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Amazon.com saw earnings jump 30% in the first quarter on strong sales growth, and the company issued a stronger-than-expected sales forecast for the current period. For the quarter ended March 31, the online retailer (AMZN)reported earnings of $143 million, or 34 cents a share, compared with earnings of $111 million, or 26 cents a share, for the same period last year. Revenue grew 37% to $4.13 billion for the quarter compared with $3.02 billion last year. Analysts were expecting earnings of 33 cents a share on revenue of $4.09 billion, according to consensus estimates from FactSet Research. Amazon said operating income grew 36% to hit $198 million. The company's closely watched operating margin figure was 4.8% for the quarter -- essentially flat with last year's first quarter as well as the margin figure for the fourth quarter. For the second quarter, Amazon projected revenues between $3.875 billion and $4.075 billion. The midpoint of that outlook -- $3.97 billion -- was ahead of the $3.83 billion expected by analysts for the period. Amazon projected operating income for the second quarter to come in between $120 million and $160 million. Shares of Amazon slipped 2% in after-hours trading after closing the regular session up 1.8% at $81

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