The international segment accounts for about one-third of the business and turned in weak operating results as its loss ballooned from $208 million last year to $541 million this quarter. Yet the U.S. division -- and the ultra-profitable AWS segment -- combined to more than offset those losses.
Looking ahead, Amazon projected fourth-quarter sales of $42.75 billion, implying growth of 22%. That forecast was just below consensus estimates that were holding out for a 25% spike to $44.5 billion. The profit outlook came with an unusually wide range: Executives see Amazon generating as much as $1.25 billion in operating income -- or as little as $0. Those top- and bottom-line forecasts might not have been as aggressive as Wall Street wanted, but these latest results show no sign of a change in Amazon's long-term growth story.
Hershey's improving candy volume
Hershey stock spiked 7% to cross back over $100 per share after its third-quarter numbers beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines. Sales rose 2% overall, driven by a healthy mix of increased volumes and prices. The candy specialist's gross profit margin held steady at 46% of sales.
Image source: Hershey.
Hershey benefited from a strong Halloween retailing push along with several tweaks that executives made to its marketing programs. "Our brands responded positively to the marketplace investments," CEO John Bilbrey said in a press release, "which is why we continue to believe that candy, mint and gum is an attractive category capable of solid growth over the long term when supported with the right mix of customer and consumer marketing."
Management plans to continue spending to support its growth initiatives but still sees higher profits ahead in the short term. While leaving its 2016 sales growth target in place at 1%, the company boosted its profit forecast to $4.30 per share from the prior $4.26-per-share mark. The improving outlook likely has shareholders glad that Hershey didn't agree to be bought out earlier this year for $107 per share, as the stock is now just 5% below that price.
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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .