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Amazon Crushes Q4 Earnings and Sales Estimates, Announces CEO Transition

The e-commerce giant had its first $100-billion sales quarter and said AWS head Andy Jassy would take over as CEO in the third quarter.

Amazon  (AMZN)  handily beat analyst earnings and sales estimates for the fourth quarter, but the bigger news may have been that of the company's CEO transition that will take place later this year.

The Street is hosting a live blog of Amazon’s Q4 earnings report and call with analysts. Please join us!

Along with its Q4 results, Amazon announced that founder and longtime CEO Jeff Bezos would step down and transition to the role of executive chairman in the third quarter of this year, and be replaced by the current head of Amazon's hugely profitable cloud division, Andy Jassy. Bezos founded Amazon out of his garage in Seattle in 1994 originally as an online bookseller, and eventually grew it into an e-commerce powerhouse and the country’s second-largest employer, becoming one of the world’s richest people in the process. 

“Right now I see Amazon at its most inventive ever, making it an optimal time for this transition,” said Bezos in a statement.

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Amazon shares were up 1.04% to $3,415.10 at last check in after-hours trading on Tuesday after rising 1.11% during the day. They are only up about 9% over the last six months, however, compared to the 15.7% rise in the S&P 500. 

For the fourth quarter, Amazon reported revenue of $125.55 billion, ahead of analyst estimates of $119.72 billion and the company’s first $100 billion sales quarter. EPS came in at $14.09, almost double a $7.30 analyst consensus.

Operating income came in at $6.9 billion versus Amazon’s previous guidance of $1 billion to $4.5 billion, while the company gave Q1 guidance for operating income of $3 billion to $6.5 billion, versus a $5.9 billion consensus estimate. Its Q1 guidance assumes approximately $2.0 billion of costs related to COVID-19.

Amazon also gave revenue guidance for the first quarter of between $100 billion to $106 billion, well ahead of analyst estimates of $95.8 billion.

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