Watch out, Bill Gates -- Amazon's (AMZN) Jeff Bezos is fast on your heels.
After the close on Thursday, the e-commerce and cloud giant extended its 20-year streak of double-digit revenue growth and reported stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings. The beat sent shares surging 4% after hours on Thursday; those gains moderated on Friday, however, with the stock up 1.7% to $934.09 in early afternoon trading.
Bezos owns about 17% of Amazon's stock, so the moves pushed his net worth past the $80 billion mark for the first time and could soon hand him the title of world's richest man. Standing in his way is Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates, the reigning champ for four years who's also held the title on and off since 1995, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index. Gates saw his fortune drop about $200 million to $87.1 billion in after-hours trading on Thursday on the back of worse-than-expected revenue for the fiscal third quarter.
Bezos has rocketed to the top ranks of the world's richest people as Amazon's empire has grown. His net worth has soared 123% over just the last five years, while Amazon's total addressable markets have grown to be worth billions of dollars over the span of its 23-year history.
Investors have been monitoring Bezos' net worth after it was reported that he was nearing the No. 1 title late last month. Bezos added $1.5 billion to his net worth on May 30 after Amazon shares gained on the news it had agreed to acquire Middle Eastern online retailer Souq.com.
Amazon is expected to keep riding higher as it continues to build out businesses beyond e-commerce and into new, rapidly growing areas like cloud computing, digital assistant technology and streaming services. Analysts had questioned whether the company's outsized spending on original content, warehouses and other items would begin to become a concern, but Amazon reassured investors on Thursday that those expenses wouldn't weigh on revenues, forecasting above consensus sales for the second quarter.
The Seattle-based company's strong business momentum convinced Barclays analyst Ross Sandler on Friday to call Amazon stock a "must-own" for any consumer internet investor.
"The overall tone around investing for future growth and efficiencies remains upbeat, and Amazon seems more open to providing color around its business than in prior years," said Sandler, who has an Overweight rating and $1,120 price target on Amazon shares.
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Editors' pick: Originally published April 28.