It had to happen sooner or later. Amazon stock tanked nearly 10% in early trading Friday as investors absorbed the company’s outlook for yet another quarter in which current profits will be sacrificed for investment in the future.
The company’s guidance for the current quarter includes additional growth in revenue but another loss on the bottom line. It pegs its profit shortfall at $55 million to $455 million, a curiously wide range, which raises more questions than it answers. That compares with a modest $79 million profit in the same quarter a year earlier.
Amazon has consistently traded short-term profits for ambitious long-term investments — like a warehouse system that stretches from coast to coast and the impossibly low-priced Kindle Fire tablet line, to name just two.
It’s a strategy, and it’s one that took Amazon from bookstore to mega-store for everything in a few short years. But Wall Street is sending a message that it’s fed up with that.