Amazon Stocks Rally On Upbeat Profits
On Thursday, the shares of Amazon.com Inc. advanced more than 7 percent after hours. This came after the online commerce giant reported earnings of 45 cents a share, or $214 million, which beat Wall Street expectations for only 17 cents a share. This was down from 51 cents a share, or $239 million, a year earlier. Amazon also said that their fourth-quarter sales increased by 15 percent for the fourth quarter and that profits declined less than expected. The company gets a third of its revenue from the holiday season, from October to December, and Amazon reported sales of $29.33 billion, up 18 percent. Also, the company’s operating expenses rose from $25.1 billion to $28.7 billion. Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would launch an electronic calendar and email service and that they will also continue to work aggressively in boosting their Amazon Prime annual membership program which grew 53 percent last year already. Over the past 12 months, Amazon’s stocks have fallen 19 percent and they are currently trading at $311.78 per share.
At the end of Thursday’s trading session, U.S. stocks finished with solid gains. According to analysts, this was prompted by rebounding oil prices while positive economic news also added to the gains. According to data released by the Labor Department, the number of people who applied for unemployment-insurance benefits in the U.S. dropped to 265,000, down 43,000, in the week ended January 24. This marked the lowest tally in the last fourteen years and the biggest decline since the end of 2012. Meanwhile, the pending home sales index declined in December, down 3.7 percent. Despite this, the year-on-year gain was 11.7 percent which marks the highest since the middle of 2013. The Nasdaq Composite index closed up 1%, or 45.41 points, at 4,683.41 while the S&P 500 index (SPX) also closed 1 percent higher at 2,021.26, with all ten of the main sectors closing higher. Following the upward trend was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) which advanced 1.3%, or 225.48 points, to 17,416.85. This index was boosted by gains in Boeing Co. and McDonald’s Corp.
After data showed that jobless claims in the U.S. fell to the lowest level since 2000, the U.S. dollar (USD) traded at more than 11-year highs against other major currencies. The greenback was also supported after the Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday when the Fed signaled that they would remain patient before raising interest rates which could be expected only in the second half of this year. In currency trading, the EUR/USD traded at 1.1312, up 0.21 percent. This came after Germany's Federal Statistics Office said that there was a decline in the number of unemployed people in January, down by 9,000. This marked the fourth consecutive month decline while beating expectations for a drop of 10,000. The report also showed that the unemployment rate in Germany dropped to 6.5 percent in January, down from 6.6 percent in December. Against the British pound, the USD traded higher with GBP/USD at 1.5124, down 0.09% while the U.S. dollar index held steady at 94.85.
In Asian trading on Friday, crude oil prices continued overnight gains. This came as investors turned their attention to demand cues from China and India. Crude oil for March delivery traded at $44.58 a barrel, up 0.15 percent, on the NYMEX. Meanwhile on the ICE Futures Exchange in London on Thursday, Brent oil for delivery in March increased by 1.21 percent, or 58 cents, to trade at $49.06 a barrel. On Thursday, after a volatile trading session, oil prices recovered from earlier losses but analysts expect this gain to be limited due to the global supply glut as well as the limited demand. After U.S. government data showed on Wednesday that crude supplies in the U.S. had risen to the highest levels since 1982, New York-traded oil futures traded at $44.45 a barrel.