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Retained earnings is the accumulated portion of net income that is not distributed to shareholders. Amazon.com Inc's retained earnings for the quarter that ended in Sep. 2016 was $4,167 Mil.
Amazon.com Inc's quarterly retained earnings increased from Mar. 2016 ($3,058 Mil) to Jun. 2016 ($3,915 Mil) and increased from Jun. 2016 ($3,915 Mil) to Sep. 2016 ($4,167 Mil).
Amazon.com Inc's annual retained earnings declined from Dec. 2013 ($2,190 Mil) to Dec. 2014 ($1,949 Mil) but then increased from Dec. 2014 ($1,949 Mil) to Dec. 2015 ($2,545 Mil).
Retained Earnings is the accumulated portion of net income that is not distributed to shareholders. Because the net income was not distributed to shareholders, shareholders equity is increased by the same amount.
Of course, if a company loses, it is called retained losses, or accumulated losses.
Historically profitable companies sometimes have negative retained earnings. This is because they have cumulatively paid out more to shareholders than they reported in profits.
For example, in 2011, Microsoft had negative retained earnings. This does not mean the company lost more money than it made over the years. It just means it paid out more money than it earned.
If a company has negative retained earnings, investors should check the 10-year financial results. They should not assume that negative retained earnings prove a company has generally lost money in the past.
Of course, many companies with negative retained earnings have indeed lost money in the past.
Retained Earnings: Warren Buffetts Secret.
One of the most important indicators of durable competitive advantage. Net earnings can be paid out as dividends, used to buy back shares or retained for growth.
If the company loses more than it has accumulated, retained earnings is negative.
If a company isnt adding to its retained earnings, it isnt growing its net worth.
Rate of growth of retained earnings is good indicator whether its benefiting from a competitive advantage.
Microsoft is negative because it chose to buyback stock and pay dividends.
The more earnings retained, the faster it grows and increases growth rate for future earnings.
Amazon.com Inc Annual Data
Amazon.com Inc Quarterly Data