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Is Wall Street Being Too Hard on Inc.?

By Motley Fool Staff – Feb 2, 2016 at 8:45AM

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The Street punished Amazon after it reported earnings, but did the stock deserve the hit it took? Two Fools run through the numbers.

Despite solid growth, Amazon's (AMZN 0.19%) stock has dropped quite a bit since its earnings call.

In this clip, Dylan Lewis and Sean O'Reilly go through Amazon's numbers for net sales, operating income, and earnings per share -- and why they weren't good enough for Wall Street. Also, our analysts look at Amazon's much-increased free cash flow and what the company seems to be planning to do with it.

A transcript follows the video.


This podcast was recorded on Jan. 29, 2016.

Dylan Lewis: What do things look like for the quarter, Sean?

Sean O'Reilly: I liked it, but Wall Street did not. I think it was down after hours last night by 12% to 13%. It's down 8% right now, but it's still higher than it was three months ago, so whatever. Anyways, net sales for the fourth quarter increased 22% to $35.7 billion, and that's of course up from $29 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014. So, I mean, that's a 26% increase. Operating income for the fourth quarter increased 88% to $1.1 billion, compared with operating income of $591 million in Q4 2015. Net income for the quarter came in at $1 per share exactly which, I don't know, it's kind of weird. I wondered like, if they could make ...

Lewis: A little too round.

O'Reilly: A little too round. What are you doing, Jeff Bezos? Wall Street was expecting $1.55 per share, hence the huge miss that anybody that goes to the Internet today will see as being cited. But in the same period last year for the quarter, [they] earned $0.45. So this is not ...

Lewis: Yeah. This is a company that's new to profitability. 

O'Reilly: Yeah, this is what, only their eighth quarter of showing GAAP profits for years?

Lewis: Yeah, if I had said two years ago, "Amazon's going to miss a positive net income estimate by $0.06," you'd be like, "What?"

O'Reilly: "What? Amazon? They're going to have a GAAP profit? I'm going to buy the stock!" For the full year -- these full year numbers are awesome. Operating cash flow, which everybody talks about Amazon's cash flow, so that's why I'm highlighting it.

Lewis: And that's really the number to look at.

O'Reilly: Right, yeah. Heck, GAAP profits were like ... they're a joke for anybody, but particularly for Amazon. Anyways. Operating cash flow increased 74% to $11.9 billion for the trailing 12 months, compared with $6.8 billion as of Dec. 31, 2014. Free cash flow for the full year was $7.3 billion, up from $1.9 billion last year. Even taking out the leased principal payments, all the machinery and that good stuff, it still came in at $4.7 billion. So, they're throwing off billions of dollars in free cash, and god knows Jeff Bezos is going to keep spending it on new initiatives, on drones and stuff. But that's fine. Anyways.

Lewis: One of the more interesting notes that I saw when I read through the conference call, someone was pressing them a little bit about some of their logistics efforts and those sides of the business ...

O'Reilly: Did you see the photo I took of the Amazon truck?

Lewis: Yeah. And, they were saying, "Is this something that's intended to supplant your current infrastructure and the outside businesses that you work with and rely on?" And they said, "No. I mean, we want to do this so that we can handle extra capacity during particularly busy times." And I think having this kind of money enables the company ...

O'Reilly: Did he wink at the end when he said that?

Lewis: Yeah, like, "Just kidding!" (laughs) No, that seems to be the plan. And having this kind of free cash flow available allows for those kinds of investments.

O'Reilly: And to your point, the Amazon truck that I took a photo of and showed around the office, it was there on a Sunday, which, the postal service isn't running, and they still want to get me my diapers for my son. And I know they were using it, because I was talking to Buck Hartzell upstairs, I think, and he noticed there were lots of Amazon trucks running around, just playing catch-up during the holidays. So, as of now, that's true.

Dylan Lewis has no position in any stocks mentioned. Sean O'Reilly has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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