Amazon (AMZN) revenue of $38 billion beat consensus estimates of $37.2 billion, but earnings per share came in at 40 cents— far below analysts expectations of $1.42. That large discrepancy was due, in part, to higher marketing costs, which jumped 44% year over year to $2.2 billion from $1.5 billion and spending on infrastructure including new data centers for the Amazon Web Services cloud business and fulfillment centers for retail operations.
Amazon, which is also building a video content business, saw spending on “technology and content” ballooning 43% to almost $5.2 billion from $3.9 billion a year ago.
But analysts—who seem to trust Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his continued pledge to keep pouring money back into the company—remained largely bullish.
That investment will support growth and help Amazon “reinforce its competitive moats,” wrote Jefferies analyst Brian Fitzgerald, who stuck with his “buy” rating.
RBC Capital Markets’ analyst Mark Mahaney said the sectors that Amazon is attacking remain huge and relatively untapped.
“Amazon’s two key end-markets—retail and cloud computing—are still only 10-15% penetrated,” he wrote. He maintains his “outperform” rating on the company.
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Goldman Sachs (GS) analyst Heath Terry concurred: “We continue to believe that we are in the early stages of the shift of compute to the cloud and the transition of traditional retail online and that the market is under-estimating the long-term financial impact of both to Amazon.”
Amazon is the leader in public cloud computing, a model in which businesses put computing operations and data storage into data centers operated by a third party instead of building more of their own facilities. Amazon was first into that market and remains the largest player, but it also faces more competition from Microsoft (MSFT) and Google.
And Amazon also leads in e-commerce and retail, where it competes with Walmart (WMT) and virtually every other brick and mortar retail company on the planet.
James Cakmak, an Internet analyst for brokerage firm Monness Crespi Hardt, sounded a cautionary note, pointing out that pressure on Amazon’s gross margins will likely continue.
Cakmak noted: “We still see Amazon home to the greatest regulatory risk in the FANG group.” (FANG stands for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google.)
Earlier this year, Amazon warned that potential trade restrictions by the Trump administration could be an issue for the company