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Amazon swings to profit in first quarter

Amazon.com Inc. on Thursday said it swung to a profit from a year-earlier loss as the online retailer's aggressive pricing and free shipping incentives fueled higher sales.
/ Source: Reuters

Amazon.com Inc. Thursday said it swung to a profit from a year-earlier loss as the online retailer’s aggressive pricing and free shipping incentives fueled a 41 percent jump in sales, which also benefited from the impact of the weak dollar.

Seattle-based Amazon, which has evolved from an Internet bookseller to the online equivalent of a mall, had first-quarter net income of $111.1 million, or 26 cents per share, compared with a year-earlier net loss of $10.1 million, or 3 cents per share.

Revenue grew to $1.53 billion from $1.08 billion in first-quarter 2003, including an $87 million gain from changes in foreign exchange rates.

The company also issued second-quarter and full-year revenue targets that were below the high end of Wall Street estimates.

Amazon shares, which had closed up $3.14 to $48.86 on the Nasdaq ahead of the results, sold off to $47.71 in after-hours trade.

Shares of high-profile Internet companies often run up ahead of earnings and then drop, unless their results and forecasts are significantly better than expectations.