Retail investors pile into Amazon ahead of earnings

Employees stand outside the new Amazon Go grocery store in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016.
David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images shares are flying off the shelf.

Ahead of the e-commerce giant's fourth-quarter earnings announcement scheduled for Thursday, retail investors are buying the stock at a 20 percent higher rate than they were before the prior quarterly report, according to online stock trading platform Robinhood.

In an e-mail sent Wednesday afternoon, Robinhood said that over the previous 24 hours, investors bought Amazon stock 1.8 times more than they sold it, compared to 1.5 more buys than sells leading up to third-quarter results.

Earnings are no sure thing for Amazon investors.

In the third quarter, a significant earnings disappointment sent the stock down more than 5 percent. But in four of the five reports before that, better-than-expected numbers led to stock rallies.

Amazon shares

The long-term trend line is certainly up. The stock has jumped 50 percent in the past year, closing on Wednesday at $835.34.

According to Robinhood, Amazon is the 15th most commonly held stock on its platform. Apple is first.