Amazon Stock Is On Fire After Stellar First Quarter Earnings Amid Prime Membership Price Hike

Amazon stock is on fire after the e-commerce juggernaut reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings that easily beat Wall Street analyst estimates on both net income and revenue.

Trading volume for AMZN stock is going through the roof this morning, an hour after the U.S. stock markets opened, suggesting the company will definitely set a new volume record before the market closes today. As of 12:50 p.m. Eastern time, more than 9.8 million Amazon shares have traded. For context, average daily trading volume is 6.3 million shares.

Interestingly, there has not been much push-back from consumers even though Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos raised the price of Amazon Prime memberships by 20 percent. Starting on May 11, the annual Amazon Prime membership fee will increase to $119 from $99.

In a press release April 26, Amazon reported first quarter earnings of $1.6 billion, or $3.27 a share, up from $724 million, or $1.48 a share, last year. Revenue for the first quarter ended March 31 surged to $51 billion from $35.7 billion a year ago — a spike of 43 percent.

Amazon Sets Bullish Second Quarter Earnings Outlook

Also buoying AMZN stock is its bullish earnings and revenue projections for the second quarter. Amazon expects to beat last year's second-quarter results on both the top and bottom line:
  • Sales for the second quarter are expected to be between $51 billion and $54 billion, up 34 to 42 percent from the second quarter of 2017.
  • Operating income is expected to be between $1.1 billion and $1.9 billion, compared with $628 million in the second quarter of 2017.
Thanks to these kinds of stellar financial results, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — whose net worth tops $104 billion — is now the richest person in history.

Jeff Bezos Amazon CEO net worth
AP | Reed Saxon

Not surprisingly, Wall Street is bullish on Amazon stock. Goldman Sachs reiterated its buy rating for AMZN and boosted its price target for Amazon stock to $2,000 from $1,825.

In a note to clients on April 27, Stifel analyst Scott Devitt also raised his price target from $2,020 from $1,800, CNBC reported. JPMorgan was equally exuberant, saying it does not believe that the higher Amazon Prime prices will have any negative effect on the company's bottom line.

"The last time AMZN raised the price of Prime was in March 2014, and we do not expect the company to get much pushback from consumers given the increasing value of the service," JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth wrote in a note to clients.