Amazon's Black Box Won't Be Opened Anytime Soon

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon (AMZN) is set to report third-quarter earnings after the close of trading. All eyes will be on third-quarter revenue and fourth-quarter guidance, since investors apparently can't focus on much else.

The Seattle-based Amazon is a black box, when compared to other technology giants such as Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and others. Amazon's financial results are akin to the CIA, showing only what the company is required to reveal by securities law, and nothing more. Kindle device sales aren't included, the number of warehouses around the country has never been disclosed. Other companies disclose sales figures down to the product level; Amazon's numbers remain a mystery.

The typical answer when asked about what the company is working on is, "And there is not much more I can add to that right now, so you have to stay tuned and see where that ends up."

That answer comes from Amazon's CFO Thomas Szkutak when talking about Amazon's entry into the grocery markets, but it's applied to all of the company's various operations. Amazon discloses only what it has to, and investors have given it a pass in hopes that one day the company's longterm mission of moving into disparate areas, selling more products to more people, will allow Amazon to rake in tremendous profits. One day, some day in the future.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Amazon to earn 62 cents per share on $16.76 billion in revenue.

Going into the earnings print, here's what a few analysts on Wall Street had to say about Amazon and its prospects.

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