Amzn Prime Truck

Image source: Amazon, via YouTube.

E-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is gearing up for a second-quarter report, scheduled after the closing bell on Thursday.

Heading into this release, Amazon shares have traded 9% higher year to date. The stock has also gained a market-crushing 39% over the last 52 weeks. In other words, Amazon is coming into this report on a full head of steam -- and is facing high investor expectations.

Here's what to look for in this business update.

Amazon by the numbers

According to Amazon's official guidance, net sales should rise 27% year over year to land at approximately $29.3 billion. This target includes a 7% currency tailwind, compared to the year-ago quarter.

The company doesn't offer guidance for earnings per share, but management does share some loose targets for adjusted operating profits. After backing out roughly $825 million in stock-based compensation and other operating expenses, operating income could land anywhere between $375 million and $975 million. The Q2 2015 figure for this metric was $464 million, leaving room for either a modest decline or a larger year-over-year gain.

Digging deeper

July 12 saw the second outing of Amazon's Prime Day event. The event fell after the closing of the second quarter that's up for review on Thursday, but you can bet that Amazon's management will want to talk about it. Like the first version, Prime Day 2016 broke Amazon's single-day sales record with a 60% higher global revenue stream. 

In follow-up press materials, Amazon focused on how the event boosted sales of Amazon-branded electronics such as the Fire Stick media player and Kindle tablets. Prime Day probably also increased the number of subscribers to the Amazon Prime service, which offers access to free shipping and digital media streams. Don't expect any actual numbers, though. So far, the company has settled on a Prime subscriber count in the "tens of millions."

This report may give us more detail on the true Prime subscriber total, but only in the sense that buying a lottery ticket might make you incredibly rich. I wouldn't be holding my breath in expectation.

You'll be better off looking for details on the Amazon Web Services division. In the first quarter, AWS sales increased by 64% year over year while GAAP segment profits more than tripled. It has become Amazon's most profitable division by far, with fast-growing sales to boot.

Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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