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Amazon Blows Away Fourth Quarter Earnings Expectations

This is getting embarrassing for every other retailer on the planet. While Circuit City was shuttering its doors and many others were holding on for dear life, Amazon was blasting past Wall Street?? expectations. Sales rose 18%, to $6.7 billion, while profits increased 9%. Earnings per share were $.52, versus consensus estimates of $.39. The stock is currently up 13% in after-hours trading, to $56.57.

Most of the good news came out of the core etailing operation. But evidence continues to mount that the company is also finding success in some of its other major strategic initiatives. The ??ther?segment that’s comprised mostly of the Web Services unit that provides cloud-computing technology services rose from $111 million to $147 million. But now the focus will turn to Kindle e-book reader. While the company has still not given sales figures, my sources think the number is around 400,000—many of them after CEO Jeff Bezos went on Oprah to plug the device last Fall. The company is expected to do the first update of the product at a press event in New York on February 9.

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