Amazon Delivers Strong Quarter Following Prime Subscriber Reveal

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

The company grew its net income to $3.27 per share.

Amazon shares spiked on Thursday afternoon after the company reported earnings that shot past Wall Street's expectations. 

The e-commerce giant reported first-quarter sales of $51 billion, up 43 percent over the same period last year. Net income grew to $3.27 per share, compared with $1.48 per share in the first quarter of 2017. The company's commitment to profitability struck a chord with investors, sending the stock up more than 6 percent during after-hours trading on the Nasdaq. 

Wall Street analysts, as polled by Thomson Reuters, were expecting earnings of $1.26 per share and revenue of $49.78 billion.

Amazon surprised investors last week by disclosing for the first time the number of people who pay for its Prime service, which offers free two-day shipping and other perks including access to video and music streaming. The company said it has 100 million Prime members, though it did not break out how many of those people view videos on its platform. (Netflix, for comparison, has 125 million subscribers worldwide.) The video product, which can also be bought separately from Amazon Prime, is expected to have around 90.3 million viewers in the U.S. this year, per a report from eMarketer.

On Thursday, Amazon did say it has "tens of millions" of paid customers who use its Amazon Music and Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptions, up more than 100 percent in the last six months. 

During the first quarter, Amazon announced it had tapped NBC exec Jennifer Salke to run its Los Angeles-based entertainment outpost, Amazon Studios. She replaces Roy Price, who left the company last year following sexual harassment allegations. Amazon Studios has ordered Steven Spielberg-produced Cortes starring Javier Bardem and a new series from Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn. 

The strong quarter comes as Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos have faced attacks from President Donald Trump. In late March, Trump criticized the company on Twitter, blaming it for losses at the U.S. Post Office, with which Amazon has a business relationship. The company's stock took a hit as a result of the comments, though the president provided no evidence backing up his claims.

Amazon shares closed Thursday up nearly 4 percent to $1,517.96.