Shares of Amazon were falling 0.9% to $1,703.75 after the results were announced.
Amazon reported earnings per share of $6.04, versus analyst estimates of $5.65, and revenue of $72.4 billion versus estimates of $71.9 billion. Earnings came in at $3.03 billion, up from $1.86 billion in the year-ago period.
But it issued Q1 guidance of revenue between $56 billion and $60 billion, short of consensus estimates of $60.83 billion, and operating income of $2.3 billion to $3.3 billion, roughly in line with a $3.09 billion consensus.
For the fourth quarter, North American segment revenue rose 18% year over year to $44.12 billion, slightly missing a $44.23 billion consensus, while international revenue rose 15% to $20.83 billion, ahead of a $20.49 billion consensus. AWS revenue rose 45% to $7.43 billion, beating a $7.29 billion consensus.
The company noted that its $15 hourly minimum wage went into effect in the U.S. in November and that it benefits more than 250,000 employees in the U.S. Among many accomplishments for the year touted by Amazon were the fact that "tens of millions" of customers worldwide started Prime free trials or began paid memberships.
Amazon also emphasized the growth of its Alexa digital voice assistant in the holiday quarter in its earnings press release.
"Echo Dot was the best-selling item across all products on Amazon globally, and customers purchased millions more devices from the Echo family compared to last year," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. He noted that the number of research scientists working on Alexa has more than doubled in the last 12 month, and that Alexa's ability to understand requests and answer questions improved by more than 20% via advances in machine learning.
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