Amazon’s Posts Third Consecutive Quarter Of Billion-Plus Profits

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Amazon.com on Thursday reported a second-quarter profit of US$2.5 billion, more than double the forecasts of analysts, on strong cloud computing and advertising operations.

Net income surged more than six-fold to $2.5bn, powered largely by the growth of its cloud computing business Amazon Web Services which grew 80 per cent, and a series of acquisitions including health-conscious supermarket chain Whole Foods.

AMZN stock was up about 1.2% following the company's latest quarterly earnings results.

"We suspect, though this is admittedly speculation, that Amazon will have to re-enter the phone market either directly or indirectly in order to drive Alexa adoption", Benjamin Schachter, the bank's technology analyst, said in a note to clients Friday following Amazon's record-breaking earnings report.

"There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa Voice Service, and the number of Alexa-enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year", he said.

The company forecast operating income of between $1.4bn and $2.4bn for the third quarter, beating analysts' estimates of $843m.

"It's now a multibillion-dollar business for us", he said on a call with analysts Thursday.

Overall, Amazon reported sales of $52.9 billion, up 39 percent from a year earlier.

On a call with investors, Amazon continued to tout the success of Prime Day, a 36-hour shopping event that kicked off on July 16 and has gradually become a bonafide event to rival Black Friday.

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Hiking the annual USA price of Prime 20 percent during the second quarter showed few signs of discouraging sign-ups.

Wall Street expected big things from Amazon in the second quarter.

Despite the phenomenal numbers for AWS, CEO Jeff Bezos chose to use the quarterly report to talk up another Amazon product: the Alexa virtual assistant and its ongoing efforts to expand both its range of devices and its geographic availability.

Amazon did suffer a rare setback last week, when its Prime Day sales event began with technical issues.

The tech giant said shoppers bought over 100 million items during Prime Day.

The top-selling item in the United States was the Instant Pot, while the Bosch cordless drill took the title in the UK. Later, Olsavsky revealed Amazon is increasing its reach of Alexa with 13,000 smart-home devices from 2,500 unique brands, and it is expanding into hotels "to allow you to experience Alexa while you're traveling".

"Despite its enormous size and previous run of strong growth, Amazon has had no problem in delivering another good set of numbers", said Neil Saunders of the research firm GlobalData.

One of Amazon's revenue drivers is its Prime subscription service which offers streaming video and music, free delivery and other perks and which has more than 100 million members worldwide.

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