What: Shares of Internet retailer Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) jumped nearly 14% in April, according to S&P Capital IQ data, as investors reacted favorably to the company's first-quarter earnings report and analyst upgrades.
So What: Amazon is sort of a battleground stock. On one hand, you have a group of investors who commend CEO Jeff Bezos for his focus on growth and the customer experience, taking a long-term view on the company's net income. On the other, there are those who feel the company should be further along converting sales into earnings.
In this earnings report, the former won out over the latter as the company's better-than-expected earnings-per-share loss of $0.12 sent the stock up 14% over the next trading session, though that gain settled down over the following days. Amazon's top-line growth continues: The company reported $22.72 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 15% year over year and above analysts' consensus estimate of $22.4 billion.
However, the biggest story for Amazon investors was the results from its Amazon Web Services cloud business. This was the first quarter Amazon reported its AWS results separately, and the numbers did not disappoint: Revenue of $1.57 billion and profit of $265 million -- for annualized run rates of $6 billion and $1 billion, respectively -- place Amazon among the biggest cloud infrastructure providers and give investors a profitable business line.
Now what: Following Amazon's report, a host of analyst firms upgraded the company. Raymond James raised its price target for Amazon to $485, citing "widening margins and AWS growth." J.P. Morgan increased its price target from $375 per share to $525 per share, citing improving profitability and strong growth. Amazon stock closed April trading at $421.78. Amazon might not be yet reporting earnings in the traditional sense, but I wouldn't bet against Bezos' vision.