The numbers are mixed but encouraging enough to lift Amazon shares about 1.4% in after-market trading. The e-retailer generated $82M in net income, -36.9% vs the period last year, on revenues of $16.1B, +21.9%. Analysts expected revenues to come in just a little higher at $16.2B. But diluted earnings per share at 18 cents were twice as high as the Street forecast. Media sales in North America were up 14% to $2.5B, and worldwide were +7% to $5.1B. North American electronics and other general merchandise were up 28% to $6.1B, with worldwide sales +28% to $10.2B. CEO Jeff Bezos used the earnings release to talk up Amazon’s new effort to greenlight TV shows. “The pilots are out in the open where everyone can have a say,” he says. “I have my personal picks and so do members of the Amazon Studios team, but the exciting thing about our approach is that our opinions don’t matter. Our customers will determine what goes into full-season production. We hope Amazon Originals can become yet another way for us to create value for Prime members.” The report also highlighted streaming licensing agreements with A+E Networks, CBS, FX, PBS, and Scripps Networks.
UPDATE, 11:10 AM: It’s official — there’s a new Kindle. It’s called Kindle Paper White, costs $119 and will ship October 1. At 9.1 millimeters and 7.5 ounces, it is very slender. “Thinner than a magazine, lighter than a paperback,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said as he announced the product in Santa Monica this morning. A higher-priced $179 Kindle Paper White has free 3G wireless. Both also have a bright light so you can read in the dark and it has eight weeks of battery life. It also has a timer that tracks individuals’ reading speed and can then tell them how long it will take them to finish a chapter or a book. A total of 180,000 books available on the Paper White are exclusive to Amazon, Bezos said.
The CEO today also unveiled the new Kindle Fire HD. The new 8.9-inch tablet is designed to be almost glare free, comes with dual speakers and advanced WiFi. With a few implied digs at the cost and limitations of Apple’s iPad, Bezos said the 32 GB and 4G wireless tablet will retail for $499 and ships November 20. “Is it a little bit more expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely,” he told the crowd.
Amazon shares touched an all-time high today of $252.27. With an hour to go before the market close, the shares are up around 1.8% — in line with the overall market. (The S&P 500 is higher than it’s been since May 2008.)
Amazon startled investors last night with its report of a huge 3Q profit miss. The stock is off about 11.5% this morning from yesterday’s close of $227.15 before the announcement. But analysts are taking the disclosure in stride, saying that Amazon’s just going through some growing pains while CEO Jeff Bezos awaits a huge inflow of cash from sales of the company’s new Kindle Fire tablet. RBC Capital Markets analyst Ross Sandler maintained his “outperform” recommendation on the stock, although he trimmed the target price to $240 from $265. “We view these quarterly pullbacks as good opportunities to add to (investment) positions, and see the upcoming Kindle Fire product launch as the next catalyst that should allow for revenue upside in 2012,” he says. Credit Suisse’s Spencer Wang also trimmed his target, to $200 from $210, yet maintained his “neutral” position on Amazon. He considers it a “core holding in the sector” but urges investors to wait for ”a more attractive entry point.”
The news comes from a posting on the Amazon Prime site by the online retail company’s CEO Jeff Bezos. Here’s what he says:
Look out Netflix…The deal brings old series including Star Trek, Frasier, and Cheers to Amazon Prime, increasing its library of streamable movies and TV shows to 8,000. Although the companies aren’t talking about the terms, Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker says it’s a “big positive” for CBS. Unlike the two-year deal that …