Amazon beats holiday-quarter sales estimates, shares up 10%

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(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (O:) on Thursday beat analysts’ estimates for fourth-quarter revenue, as its efforts to speed up delivery helped attract more shoppers during the holiday season, sending its shares up 10%.

Retailers usually generate a majority of their annual sales and profit during the holiday period.

The company forecast net sales in the range of $69 billion and $73 billion for the first quarter. Analysts were expecting revenue of $71.65 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net sales in North America, its biggest market, jumped 21.6% to $53.67 billion during the fourth quarter. Analysts had expected revenue of $52.23 billion from the segment.

Revenue from its lucrative cloud computing unit Amazon Web Services (AWS), which sells data storage and computing power in the cloud, surged 34% to $9.95 billion. Analysts had expected $9.84 billion.

Amazon’s total operating expenses surged 21.8% during the quarter to $83.56 billion.

Net sales rose 21% to $87.44 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 , beating estimates of $86.02 billion.

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