RealTime IT News

Amazon Stands Tall

Amazon.com posted quarterly results and guidance late Thursday that were better than Wall Street analysts expected, but the online retailing giant's aggressive pricing and technology spending continued to raise eyebrows.

Amazon reported fourth-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share, 2 cents above forecasts but down by half from the year-ago quarter, as the company got hit with higher tax expenses and lower margins. Net sales rose 34% to $3.99 billion, beating $3.77 billion estimates, and Amazon's first-quarter sales guidance of $2.85-$3 billion was also above forecasts.

But Amazon's operating margins decreased from 5.5% to 4.9% year-over-year and will likely continue to fall in 2007, raising concerns about the company's operating leverage.

Still, the results were good enough for a 2% gain in late trading.

Stocks rose in Thursday's trading session, even though Google's earnings and the return of Michael Dell as CEO of Dell did little to inspire investors of those companies. Both stocks ended the day lower.

January jobs data will be reported Friday morning, and economists are looking for an increase of 150,000 jobs.

VeriSign , WebEx , Concur , i2 , Monster , ON Semi , FormFactor and Tollgrade gained on their results, while JDSU fell 6% on disappointing guidance.

The Nasdaq gained 4 to 2468, the S&P 500 rose 7 to 1446, and the Dow gained 52 to 12,673. Volume declined to 2.96 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.28 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 24-8 on the NYSE, and 19-10 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 75% on the NYSE, and 48% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 407-17 on the NYSE, and 213-40 on the Nasdaq.