Amazon shares close at record high

The online retailer's stock finishes up nearly 30% as investors see the company becoming a powerhouse of the post-recession economy.

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By Ben Rooney, staff reporter

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NEW YORK ( -- Shares of surged to an all-time high Friday as investors bet that the online retailer would dominate e-commerce as shell-shocked consumers gradually begin spending again.

The rally came one day after Amazon reported a 69% surge in third-quarter profit, led by strong sales of the Kindle e-reader and other electronics and general merchandise.

The Seattle-based company's stock closed up 27%, to 118.49, shattering the previous high of $106.68 from December 1999.

"[Amazon] held up better than overall e-commerce and retail during the downturn and it appears to be one of the first to be spring-boarding out of it," said Frederick Moran, an analyst who follows the company for The Benchmark Company.

Moran said Amazon drew price-wary consumers away from online competitors and traditional retailers as the recession forced many households to cut back on expenses. Now that consumer spending appears to be gradually recovering, "the rate of growth at Amazon looks truly stunning," he said.

Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) said Thursday that sales climbed 28% to $5.45 billion in the third quarter, beating analysts' expectations for an 18% rise to $5.03 billion.

Sales of electronics and other general merchandise, which represent 43% of Amazon's revenue mix, grew 51% in North America and 48% internationally.

Looking ahead, Amazon said it expects fourth-quarter sales to range between $8.12 billion and $9.12 billion, or to grow between 21% and 36% compared with fourth quarter 2008.

Amazon could sustain a 25% growth rate through next year, according to Moran. "Amazon has very uniquely stood out above the retail crowd," he said.  To top of page

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