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Amazon Gets a New Vote of Confidence

In late October, Amazon reported a net loss of $274 million, or 60 cents a share, for the third quarter with sales totaling $13.81 billion. In the same period a year earlier, Amazon earned $63 million, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $10.88 billion. The results reflect a loss of $169 million, or 37 cents a share, related to asset impairment at its LivingSocial unit.

The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for a loss of 8 cents a share in the September-ended period on revenue of $13.92 billion.

"Our approach is to work hard to charge less. Sell devices near breakeven and you can pack a lot of sophisticated hardware into a very low price point," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and CEO, in a statement released with earnings that highlighted sales of the Kindle Fire Tablet, Paperwhite e-book readers and overall digital ook sales. The company said its Kindle Fire HD 8.9 tablet priced at the $299 ships on November 20.

Bezos' approach to growing products at the expense of earnings was evident in Amazon's operating margins, which came in at a negative 0.2%, declining for a third straight quarter.

For the fourth quarter, Amazon forecast between an operating loss of $490 million and an operating profit of $310 million with sales projected between $20.25 billion and $22.75 billion. Also in October, Apple (AAPL - Get Report) posted fourth-quarter results on that raised questions as to the direction of the tech giant's momentum headed into 2013.

The iPhone and iPad maker reported revenue of $36 billion, up from $28.3 billion in the prior year's quarter, and above analysts' forecasts of $35.8 billion.

Apple earned $8.67 a share on net income of $8.2 billion, up from earnings of $7.05 a share and net income of $6.6 billion in the same period last year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, however, were looking for earnings of $8.75 a share.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm sold 26.9 million iPhones during the quarter, a 58% year-over-year hike. Apple's iPhone number also disproved rumors that the company has been struggling with supply chain issues. Wall Street had forecast between 25 million and 26 million iPhone sales.

Social networking giant Facebook (FB - Get Report), beat on both the top and bottom lines when it reported its third-quarter earnings in late October.

--Written by Antoine Gara in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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