Amazon posts EPS of $1.07, shares pop 12%

Amazon top and bottom line beat
Amazon top and bottom line beat

Amazon.com blew past quarterly earnings estimates Thursday, as the free-spending e-commerce giant posted its fourth straight profit, boosted by a 28 percent sales increase.

Amazon reported first-quarter net income of $513 million, or $1.07 per share, on $29.13 billion in revenue. Those figures compare with a loss of 12 cents per share and $22.72 billion in sales for the previous year.

Analysts expected Amazon to post earnings of 58 cents per share on $27.98 billion in revenue, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

Shares popped more than 10 percent in extended trading.

The company's fourth straight quarter of earnings assures some company watchers who have questioned whether it can maintain profitability. Operating income also spiked to $1.1 billion in the quarter, up from $255 million in the prior-year period. Analysts expected about $566.1 million on a GAAP basis, according to StreetAccount.

"This quarter they exceeded their operating income … that should relieve some of the concerns that we had last quarter with higher fulfillment cost and lower gross margins," said Aaron Kessler, a senior research analyst at Raymond James, on CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Thursday.

Company watchers have eyed the growth of its key cloud computing unit and its Prime subscription service, among other segments.

Despite tough competition, Amazon Web Services sales rose 64 percent to $2.57 billion from $1.57 billion in the prior-year period. That slightly topped estimates of $2.54 billion, according to StreetAccount.

Operating income for the business more than tripled, ballooning to $604 million from $195 million in the previous year. Still, it came in slightly lower than analysts had expected.

On the company's conference call, executives noted margins for the business could vary quarter-to-quarter.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos
Looking for the next big thing in Amazon earnings

Sales easily topped forecasts in both its North America and international units. North America sales came in at $16.99 billion, up 27 percent from $13.41 billion in the previous year, and versus expectations for $16.5 billion, according to StreetAccount.

International revenue grew 24 percent to $9.57 billion from $7.75 billion, also beating expectations of $8.96 billion.

On the call, chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said Amazon saw its "strongest" international growth in more than three years. He noted it has added international Prime subscribers "at a high clip."

For the second quarter, Amazon expects net sales of $28 billion to $30.5 billion, which would mark 21 to 32 percent growth from the previous year. Wall Street expected $28.32 billion in revenue, according to StreetAccount.

Amazon sees operating income between $375 million and $975 million, compared with Wall Street estimates of $860.5 million on a GAAP basis.

Amazon has also made original media and content a higher priority to draw subscribers. Olsavsky noted the company will "significantly" increase its spending on original content in the coming quarters.

Amazon shares have fallen about 11 percent this year but are up 39 percent in the past 12 months.