Bezos predicts spending any potential operating profit in second quarter

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Amazon.com Inc. topped $75 billion in sales in the first quarter as COVID-19 swept across the globe, but profit declined and the company said Thursday that it might lose money in the current period as it spends to keep up with demand.

Shares of the company dipped nearly 5% in after-hours trading Thursday.

Amazon reported first-quarter earnings of $2.5 billion, or $5.01 a share, down from $3.56 billion, or $7.09 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue grew to $75.5 billion from $59.7 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated $6.23 a share on revenue of $73.7 billion on average.

For the second quarter, the company said it could report operating losses of up to $1.5 billion, though the high end of guidance was for $1.5 billion in operating profit, a wide range that shows the inability to project results in a difficult time. Analysts had expected more than $4 billion in operating profit in the second quarter, according to FactSet, but Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said he expects to spend that and possibly more.

“If you’re a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we’re not thinking small,” Bezos said in Thursday’s announcement.

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