reported profit and revenue that blew past analysts' expectations, demonstrating the growing market power of its core retail business and new cloud services division. 

The results draw a sharp contrast to the disappointing fourth quarter Amazon reported in January, which renewed worries among some shareholders about the company's comparatively thin profit margins.

Amazon's performance also assuaged concerns about a broader slowdown among tech and internet companies after Apple, Microsoft and Intel all reported disappointing earnings. 

The company also offered a bright outlook, with revenue guidance for the current quarter of $28 billion to $30.5 billion, compared to the $28.33 billion analysts had expected. 

While Amazon displayed impressive growth for a company its size - revenues last quarter rose 28.2% to $29.13 billion, the biggest revenue growth since 2012 - its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing division was the highlight.

Revenues at the division climbed 64% to $2.56 billion while operating income more than tripled to $604m.

Even though operating margins fell at the unit compared to last quarter, as Amazon spends heavily to compete with rivals like Microsoft and Google, they remain a healthy 27.9%. That compares to 28.5% last quarter, and 16.9% a year earlier. 

AWS, launched 10 years ago, delivered more profit in the quarter than Amazon's retail business.

Research firms say AWS has more than 30% of the fast-growing cloud-computing market and it remains far ahead of rivals including Microsoft and Google. 

Amazon said it also has seen strong growth in subscribers to its Prime loyalty programme, which offers one-hour delivery, original TV programming and access to its digital entertainment products such as Prime Music and Prime Video for an annual fee of $99. 

Amazon also said it would continue to build its logistics operations, where it has started using its own trucks and planes to supplement carriers such as UPS and Fedex and offer-same day service.

Amazon's net sales in North America, its biggest market by revenue, increased 26.8% to $17 billion in the first quarter. 

Amazon reported net income of $513m, or $1.07 per share, for the quarter ended March 31, marking a fourth quarter of profits in a row for the once perennially money-losing company.

A year earlier, Amazon reported a loss of $57m, or 12 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 58 cents per share and revenue of $27.98 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.