Investors Are Getting Fed Up With Amazon

Jeffery bezos amazon ceoREUTERS/Richard BrianAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon delivered disappointing Q3 earnings, missing on both the top and bottom line, reporting a $US544 million operating loss, and delivering bleak guidance for next quarter. The stock tanked nearly 13% after-hours. It’s down almost 10% this morning.

The tone around Amazon has shifted significantly. Whereas it was getting the benefit of the doubt a year ago, people are getting impatient with the company today.

This was especially evident during the company’s earnings call. Analysts asked a number of pointed questions.

For instance, Aram Rubinson, with Wolfe Research asked Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak the following:

“Can you tell us or remind us what financial measures are important to you guys and which financial measures you hold yourselves and the board hold you accountable to? Because it’s a little hard to see any of them making positive progress.”

Szkutak gave a very Amazon-answer, reminding investors and analysts that Amazon is long-term focused. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ choice has always been to make bold investments for the future, treating the current status quo like it’s “Day One” as far as what’s possible. Szkutak said that Amazon pays the most attention to maximizing free cash flow and taking opportunities that will bring the biggest return on investment.

Rubinson then gave Szkutak another hard question, asking whether Amazon had trouble recruiting because the stock has been taking a hit.

“How are you making sure that you’re hiring the best people?” he asked.

Szkutak gave a calm answer, assuring Rubinson that “the people that we’re hiring are extraordinarily talented,” but the question was meant to be rough.

Amazon also reported that it had taken a $US170 million hit from its new smartphone, with $US83 million of unsold inventory on hand at the end of the quarter, and another investor asked what Amazon looks at when deciding whether to plow ahead with a flopped project or redeploy the capital in other areas.

“We try to learn from everything that we do as we launch new opportunities and so that’s something across things that go great and things that don’t go as well as others,” Szkutak said. “We try to learn from that.”

Although Amazon may be comfortable continuing to focus on a ten-year vision and accepting the bombs with the successes, investors and analysts seem to finally be getting anxious.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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