July 26, 2018 / 5:36 PM / in 3 months

Amazon beats estimates, Wall St. breathes sigh of relief

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall St breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday after Amazon.com’s quarterly results beat estimates, sending the online retailer’s stock to a record high and alleviating fears of deepening troubles across the FANG group after Facebook’s results sent its shares reeling.

FILE PHOTO: Amazon.com's logo is seen at Amazon Japan's office building in Tokyo, Japan, August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

A 19 percent plunge in Facebook shares rattled Amazon.com investors earlier in the day, with traders in Amazon’s options displaying heightened defensiveness ahead of its June-quarter report after the bell.

Facebook late on Wednesday warned about a margin hit as revenue growth slows and user privacy costs climb.

The social network’s dismal forecast followed a disappointing report by fellow FANG company Netflix on July 16. The so-called FANG stocks, which also include Google-owner Alphabet, have been central to Wall Street’s rally in recent years, and any serious weakness in their revenues and profit expansions could make future stock market gains more difficult.

“Even though we had a bump in the road with Facebook and Netflix, we’re not derailing the tech story,” said Synovus Trust portfolio manager Daniel Morgan after Amazon’s report. “It’s a huge sigh of relief.”

Following its upbeat report after the bell, Amazon’s stock rose 3.2 percent to a record high $1,866, more than making up for a 3 percent loss during Thursday’s trading session.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration photo, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

As Amazon expands into grocery retail through its acquisition of Whole Foods Market last year, and as more businesses move their IT departments onto its cloud infrastructure, its stock price has been red hot. Amazon recently traded at 110 times expected earnings, compared to more-profitable but slower growing Apple’s valuation of 15 times earnings.

Amazon’s stock market value has surged more than 50 percent in 2018 and is now above $900 billion, closing in on Apple’s $955 billion market capitalization.

(Graphic: Big Five Market Cap - reut.rs/2JUqwpy)

In its report, Amazon forecast operating income of between $1.4 billion and $2.4 billion for the third quarter, beating analyst estimates of $843 million. The Seattle-based company’s total net sales rose 39 percent to $52.89 billion, missing the average analyst estimate of $53.40 billion.

(Graphic: Big Five Revenue - reut.rs/2LDAy3f)

“Since Amazon hit $1,000 a share, we’ve taken some money off the table, but we’re not selling today,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Of all the tech companies, Amazon to me is the most vital. It’s the one with the brightest future.”

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Sandra Maler

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