The tech and retail juggernaut Thursday widely beat Wall Street’s expectations, its profitability boosted by a booming cloud-computing business, overseas shoppers’ growing embrace of Amazon Prime and hit devices such as the Fire tablet and the Echo speaker.

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Amazon’s flywheel is spinning faster and faster.

The tech and retail juggernaut Thursday widely beat Wall Street’s expectations, its profitability boosted by a booming cloud-computing business, overseas shoppers’ growing embrace of Amazon Prime and hit devices such as the Fire tablet and the Echo speaker.

Amazon.com posted first-quarter profit of $513 million, or $1.07 per diluted share, nearly doubling the 58 cents expected by analysts and swinging from a $57 million loss in the same quarter last year.

Revenue rose 28 percent to $29.1 billion, also surpassing analysts’ expectations of $28 billion.

The stock rose 12.62 percent in aftermarket trading to $678 a share, adding $35 billion to the company’s market value and making it one of the rare companies worth more than $300 billion. That surpasses General Electric and Johnson & Johnson to become the sixth-biggest U.S. company by market capitalization.

The announcement bucked the recent trend of tech-industry disappointment for investors, as Apple, Google and Microsoft turned in downbeat earnings reports (another exception was Facebook, which Wednesday posted stellar results).

The unexpectedly rosy numbers, which topped the high end of Amazon’s own guidance, underscored how the company’s massive bets in cloud computing, Prime perks and a big fulfillment structure for third-party sellers are paying off in growth and in improved cash flow.

It’s a good illustration of the “flywheel,” a concept often mentioned by CEO Jeff Bezos, in which investments in prices and selection drive customer growth, which further enables investment and efficiencies of scale.

Through this strategy, Amazon grew both the largest e-commerce empire and the biggest player in cloud computing. Both businesses have grown so huge (and so distinct) that each recently got its own CEO, both reporting to Bezos.

The contribution of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud-computing unit, stood out. The unit, which has much higher operating margins than the retail business, posted revenue growth of 64 percent, and its operating income of $604 million exceeded that of the much larger and mostly retail North American business.

Analysts have saidthey expect AWS to account for the majority of Amazon’s operating income starting this year.

Its growing weight in the business could help smooth out Amazon’s famously volatile earnings reports, which often swing between unexpected losses and surprising profits.

S&P Global Market Intelligence analyst Tuna Amobi says that with AWS’ contribution “they’re in much better position to report profits without affecting their level of ongoing investment.”

Amazon’s retail and other businesses overseas also saw the biggest jump in 3 ½ years, a boost Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky attributed to increased availability of the Prime ecosystem. Adoption of the subscription, which offers shipping perks and a popular video-streaming service, had been lagging in Europe and Japan, compared with the U.S. But it’s been growing faster than in the U.S., and “we see it really showing up in customer engagement and customer purchases,” Olsavsky said.

Executives said in the earnings call that Amazon would this year significantly increase investment in developing content for Prime’s video component, but didn’t provide details.

Amazon didn’t break down the specific impact of its devices operation, but Bezos highlighted them in a statement.

“Amazon devices are the top-selling products on Amazon, and customers purchased more than twice as many Fire tablets than first quarter last year,” Bezos said.

Echo, the voice-activated speaker inhabited by artificial-intelligence platform Alexa, “too is off to an incredible start, and we can’t yet manage to keep it in stock despite all efforts,” Bezos said.

A survey released Wednesday by Slice Intelligence, a digital-commerce research firm, estimated the Echo family of devices accounted for more than a quarter of all Amazon device unit sales, and for 41 percent of device dollar sales from November to March.

Sales of electronics and other general merchandise rose to $13.5 billion in North America, a 32 percent jump.

Other measures also pointed to rapid growth.

Operating cash flow trailing over 12 months, a key metric, rose 44 percent to $11.3 billion versus $7.8 billion a year ago.

Third-party sellers are an increasingly important feature of Amazon’s evolving business model. They accounted for 48 percent of unit sales in the quarter, up from 47 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Those sellers give Amazon a cut of their earnings, and a growing number also pay Amazon to handle shipping and storage of their wares — a good source of revenue for Amazon that helps boost operating margins.

But this business also has helped drive up Amazon’s net shipping costs, which at $1.45 billion were 44 percent higher in the first quarter than a year ago. As Amazon seeks to deliver on promises to ship faster to consumers, it must invest more and in creative ways, such as leasing its own fleet of airplanes, in order to tackle these rising costs.

Amazon’s payroll has also been growing rapidly as a result. At the end of the quarter, it counted 245,200 employees, meaning it has been adding about 160 people a day since the end of last year.