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Bezos Loses Billions In Amazon Sell-Off

Wall Street punished Amazon hard today for turning in fourth-quarter and full-year results that any business would give its eye teeth for.

At one point, founder/CEO Jeff Bezos lost as much as $7 billion in the sell-off, which sent shares down 14 percent in early trading.

And what, pray tell, did the e-tailer do to deserve this? Its Q4 net sales, including a $1.2 billion hit from unfavorable foreign exchange rates, rose only a mere 22 percent, to $35.7 billion, instead of the projected 23 percent, or $35.9 billion, for the all-important holiday quarter ended Dec. 31.

Net income was even more of a disgrace: Profits rose 125 percent to $482 million, or $1 per diluted share, although expected earnings of $1.56 per share had already been baked into the stock price, prompting the tumble.

For the full year, net income was $596 million, compared with a year-ago net loss of $241 million, and net sales rose 20 percent, to $107 billion.

This led Bezos to reflect that “20 years ago I was driving the packages to the post office myself and hoping we might one day afford a forklift. This year, we pass $100 billion in annual sales and serve 300 million customers.”

Among other Amazon accomplishments:

*Fire TV remains the No. 1 best-selling streaming media player in the U.S., having added over 1,000 new apps, channels, and games since September, the company said.

*The $50 Fire tablet has been the No. 1 best-selling, most gifted and most wished-for product across all items available on Amazon since its introduction 19 weeks ago.

*Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) shipped over 1 billion units on behalf of third-party sellers last year, including nearly 50 percent of all third-party units in Q4.

Added Bezos, “Measured by the dynamism we see everywhere in the marketplace and by the ever-expanding opportunities we see to invent on behalf of customers, it feels every bit like Day One.”