Why it matters: The holiday quarter is traditionally among the strongest for retailers and for Amazon, that certainly proved true once again. CEO Jeff Bezos said more people joined Prime during the fourth quarter than ever before, revealing that they now have more than 150 million paid Prime members worldwide.

Amazon shares are soaring after the e-commerce giant announced fourth quarter earnings that smashed expectations.

For the three-month period ending December 31, 2019, Amazon generated $87.44 billion in revenue versus Wall Street analysts' expectations of $86.02 billion. That's an increase of 20.72 percent compared to the 72.4 billion the company brought in during the same period in 2018.

Net income checked in at $3.9 billion, or $6.47 per diluted share compared to expectations of $4.03. That's just slightly better than the $3.8 billion Amazon brought in during the year-ago quarter, but nevertheless, an increase is an increase and that's reason enough for investors to celebrate.

Share value in Amazon at the end of business on Thursday closed at $1,870.68. On Friday morning, shares were trading at $2,051.46. They've tapered down slightly to $2,042.61 as of writing but that's still a very solid boost of more than nine percent for investors.

Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2020, Amazon said it expects revenue to be between $69.0 billion and $73.0 billion, or 16 to 22 percent more than the first quarter of 2019.

Masthead credit: Amazon packages by Pixavril