'The global leader in cloud computing:' Here's what Wall Street is saying about Amazon's impressive quarter

Amazon's fourth-quarter earnings report topped analyst expectations as its web services business continued to explode. Shares soared 6% on the news, and are trading north of $1,450 Friday.

The ecommerce behemoth posted earnings of $3.75 share, beating the expected $1.83 by a wide margin. Revenue of $60.5 billion topped the $59.85 billion that Wall Street was anticipating. Amazon Web Services posted sales of $5.1 billion, up 44.6% year-over-year. 

7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon:

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7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon
7.5 percent of Seattle's working-age population are Amazon employees

Amazon has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, and 40,000 in Seattle alone.

As a portion of the city's working-age population — roughly 528,000 — that comes out to 7.5% of the city working at Amazon.

For perspective, if the same portion of New York City's adults worked for one company, that company would have about 488,000 locals on staff.

Amazon accounts for 43% of all online sales

Amazon used to be a way to buy books online; today, it's the default buying site for just about everything, especially for people who have Amazon Prime.

An analysis by Slice Intelligence released in February found that 43% of all US online retail sales were done through Amazon in 2016.

That's up from 33% in 2015 and 25% in 2012.

1 out of every 4 US adults has Amazon Prime.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, the company now counts approximately 63 million people among its subscriber base, or about 25% of the total US adult population.

That number may underestimate the true coverage, however, since it doesn't account for multiple adults in one household all sharing the same Prime account.

Amazon ships 1.6 million packages a day

Amazon fulfillment is a beast of its own.

A report from 2013 (the latest year for which data are available) found Amazon shipped 608 million packages that year, or 1.6 million packages a day.

As of 2015, Amazon estimated its fulfillment centers were within 20 miles of 31% of the US population, and within 20 miles of 50-65% of its core, same-day-accessible market.

That's enough cardboard to span all of West Virginia

A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals all those packages (not including padded envelopes) yield roughly 26,400 square miles of cardboard.

The total land area of West Virginia, meanwhile, is just north of 24,000 square miles.

Given the speed of Amazon's shipments, the company could blanket the whole US in cardboard in about five months.

45,000 robots roam the floors of Amazon's warehouses

To help those shipments leave the warehouses on time, Amazon relies on a growing fleet of autonomous robots that fetch packages from their shelves and bring them to human employees.

The 45,000 robots live across 20 fulfillment centers in the US. In 2016, the company increased the fleet 50% from its prior head count of 30,000.

Amazon is more valuable than all major brick-and-mortar retailers combined

The sum total of those investments in infrastructure and supply chain management have made Amazon by far the most valuable retailer in the United States.

Amazon's $356 billion valuation is so big, it's larger than Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, and Sears combined.

With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are no signs the retailer has any plans of slowing down.

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Amazon's impressive report has Wall Street analysts excited. They see AWS as a key driver of the company's future growth while there seems to be minimal concern about the tech giant's advertising and ecommerce businesses. 

Here's what the analysts on Wall Street are saying:

Morgan Stanley: BULLISH

Rating: Overweight

Price Target: $1,500

Comment: "We see AMZN's ability to invest and execute in new categories (expanding the TAM as they have been), leading to faster and more sustained gross profit growth."

 

UBS: BULLISH

 

 

Rating: Buy

Price Target: $1,620

Comment: "We continue to reiterate our stance that Amazon is a core holding to gain exposure to secular growth trends in eCommerce (driven by geographic expansion & category expansion), cloud computing media consumption, digital advertising & AI voice assistants."

 

Davidson: BULLISH

 

 

Rating: Buy

Price Target: $1,800

Comment: "Considering the outperformance in AWS and third-party unit sales, which we believe represent two of highest margin businesses, we were not surprised by the better-than-expected adj. EBITDA and EPS. Amazon faces significant succession risk. AWS accounts for a majority of its revenue growth and profits, and is facing increasing competitive pressure from Google and Microsoft."

 

BMO: BULLISH

 

 

Rating: Outperform 

Price Target: $1,600 

Comment: "AMZN remains our Top Pick. We continue believe there remains a large runway for growth {in AWS}, particularly given the rate at which the company is rolling out new services and features."

 

Oppenheimer: BULLISH

 

 

Rating: Outperform

Price Target: $1,650 

Comment: "The company continues to gain share of global ecommerce with its deep product selection, low-cost express delivery through its Prime program, and breakthrough success of Kindle, Prime Video and Amazon Music. AMZN's Web Services segment is now the global leader in cloud computing, and has significant value."

 

Macquarie: BULLISH

 

 

Rating: Outperform 

Price Target: $1,750

Comment: "The growth in Prime members, sales of Echo and Fire devices, execution at Whole Foods, initiatives in private label, AWS growth, India, and more expansion of Prime benefits will all be key drivers in ’18 and beyond."

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