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Amazon Posts Mixed 2nd Quarter as Rivian Stake Weighs on Results

The volatile investment masked the company's underlying performance.

The e-commerce giant posted mixed second-quarter results.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon posted mixed second-quarter results on Thursday as better-than-expected revenue was offset by an expense generated from the e-commerce giant's investment in electric car maker Rivian. 

Net sales in the quarter, ended June 3, rose 7% to $121.2 billion, beating the $119.1 billion forecast by analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance. The company posted a loss of 20 cents per share, missing analyst expectations of a profit of 13 cents per share.

The loss was caused largely by Amazon's investment in Rivian, which generated a $3.9 billion valuation loss. Operating income, which excludes Amazon's stake in the carmaker, dropped to $3.3 billion but beat the high end of the company's forecast. In April, Amazon forecast operating income could range from a loss of $1 billion to a profit of $3 billion.

The earnings report comes as Amazon struggles under the weight of its sprawling logistics business, which organizes the delivery of products from warehouses to consumer doorsteps. The e-commerce giant spent lavishly on the logistics operations during the pandemic to keep up with demand from consumers that were housebound during lockdowns. With health restrictions easing, consumers are buying less online as they head to stores, leaving the capacity unused.

Already the company has taken steps to address its sprawl. CEO Andy Jassy has shuttered some of Amazon's physical stores. The company also raised prices for its Prime delivery service in both the US and Europe.

"We're making progress on the more controllable costs we referenced last quarter, particularly improving the productivity of our fulfillment network," Jassy said in a statement accompanying the report.

Amazon shares surged in after-hours trading, jumping almost 12% to $113.58.

In a call with reporters, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said consumer demand improved during the second quarter, a trend that appears to have continued into the third quarter. Members of its Prime delivery service bought more than 300 million items during Amazon's Prime Day shopping event earlier this month, the company said. That translated to more than 100,000 items per minute over the two-day event.