Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What's happening: Shares of Amazon.com (AMZN -0.59%) skyrocketed 16% early Friday after the online retail juggernaut announced better-than-expected first-quarter results the previous evening.
Quarterly revenue climbed 15% year over year to $22.72 billion, and that includes a $1.3 billion negative impact from foreign exchange rates. On a currency-neutral basis, Amazon's sales would have increased 22%. Meanwhile, that translated to a net loss of $57 million, or $0.12 per diluted share. But analysts, on average, were expecting an even larger net loss of $0.15 per share on lower sales of $22.1 billion.
Amazon also generated operating cash flow of $7.85 billion during the quarter -- a 47% year-over-year increase -- and achieved 112% growth in free cash flow to $3.16 billion over the same period.
Why it's happening: Perhaps most intriguing, however, was how CEO Jeff Bezos singled out his company's fast-growing AWS division, saying "Amazon Web Services is a $5 billion business and still growing fast -- in fact it's accelerating. Born a decade ago, AWS is a good example of how we approach ideas and risk-taking at Amazon."
Specifically, AWS saw revenue grow 49% year over year to $1.57 billion, and generated operating income of $265 million in the process. No matter how you slice it, to have a large, profitable segment like this accelerating growth is an exceptional achievement. And as long as Amazon can continue sustaining its top-line growth and grabbing market share, I see no reason the market won't continue to forgive its consistent approach of shunning bottom-line profitability.