Amazon Beats Profit Forecast; Shares Soar on Sales Outlook

Amazon.comreported better-than-expected third quarter profit on Thursday and stronger sales outlook, sending shares up in afternoon trading.

The company gave a fourth-quarter revenue projection of between $8.13 billion to $9.13 billion.

The online retailer earned 45 cents a share in its third quarter on sales of $5.45 billion, compared with 27 cents a share on sales of $4.26 billion on the same period last year.

Analysts who follow Amazon.com expected the company to turn in a gain of 33 cents a share on sales of $5.03 billion, according to a consensus from Thomson Reuters.

Amazon.com shares jumped more than 14 percent in extended trading Thursday. They closed at $93.45.

"Kindle has become the No. 1 bestselling item by both unit sales and dollars—not just in our electronics store but across all product categories on Amazon.com," Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com said in a prepared statement.

"It's also the most wished for and the most gifted. We are grateful for and energized by this customer response. Earlier this week we began shipping the latest generation Kindle. Its 3G wireless works in the U.S. and 100 countries, and we've just lowered its price to $259," he added.

Microsoft released its new Windows 7 software on Thursday and CEO Steve Ballmer and other executives demonstrated a range of new devices, highlighting a new Kindle book-reading application from Amazon.com.

Additionally, ThinkEquity analyst Ed Weller said that traffic data implies that unique visitors to Amazon's U.S. web sites rose 23 percent during the quarter, in a recent note to clients.


"What drives U.S. business may not drive equally elsewhere (significant factors being new products/services), but more traffic suggests some upside," he said.

—Wire services contributed to this story.