Amazon Books Better-Than-Expected Quarterly Profit

Fueled by the surging popularity of its Kindle reader, effective holiday discounts and free shipping, which we skeptics used to argue would bleed the Seattle-based company dry, online retailer Amazon (AMZN) posted better-than-expected results on Thursday. Net income soared 71% to $384 million, or 85 cents per share, versus net income of $225 million, or 52 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue increased 42% to $9.52 billion in the fourth quarter. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast profit of 72 cents on $9.04 billion in revenue.