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But the online behemoth still produces much smaller profits than other tech giants

ON APRIL 25TH Amazon, the world’s biggest company by market value, reported record profits for the fourth successive quarter, surpassing analysts’ expectations. In the first quarter of 2019 the company had a net profit of $3.6bn, up from $1.6bn in the same quarter last year. For over a decade Amazon has reinvested heavily in its business, at the cost of short-term earnings. The result is that despite its huge valuation it has delivered far less cumulative profit for its owners than any of the other tech superstars since 2013.

Some investors may have hoped that the last few quarters marked the start of a new phase in the company’s life, when it will crank out huge sums of cash. In fact Amazon signalled the opposite, as it ramps up investment to roll out delivery capabilities for its Prime service. It is also investing heavily in AI and smart gadgets. As a result it expects to make earnings of $1.6bn in the second quarter, compared with Wall Street expectations of $4.2bn.

By Daily chart
https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/04/26/amazons-in-the-money

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