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Amazon Is Reporting Profits For A Change, And Investors Love It

The $513 million the company earned in the first three months of this year is close to the $596 million it made in all of 2015.

Posted on April 28, 2016, at 4:35 p.m. ET

Jens Meyer / AP

Amazon sold a lot of stuff in the first three months of this year, more than analysts expected. But Amazon always sells a lot of stuff. What's changing is how much profit it chooses to make while doing so.

The company reported a $513 million profit for the quarter, up from a $57 million loss in the same period last year. It was almost double what analysts had expected, and was close to the $596 million the company earned in all of 2015. In 2014 it made a $241 million loss.

The unexpectedly large profit came from revenues of $29.1 billion, up 28% from the first quarter last year and higher than the $28 billion predicted by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

And not only is the company making big profits — this time around, investors are happy with it for doing so, with Amazon stock rising over 12% in after-hours trading. When the online retailer reported a record profit in its previous quarter, its stock crashed.

Remember when Amazon wasn't profitable

The stock may be rallying thanks to aggressive projections for sales growth that Amazon released alongside results on Thursday. It expects revenues between $28 billion and $30.5 billion, while analysts expected second quarter revenues at just over $28 billion.

Amazon/BuzzFeed

Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing business, is still growing like crazy. It had revenues of $2.6 billion, up 64% from a year ago, and above the $2.5 billion that analysts forecasted. The division's operating income of $604 million was over triple the $195 million it earned a year ago. Amazon's total operating income, which is a slightly different measure from net income or profits, was $1.1 billion.

Amazon Web Services makes more money than "Amazon" with just 15% of the revenue. Could AWS be worth more than IBM?

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