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Amazon Revenue Soars 22%, Stock Surges (Update 1)

Stocks in this article: AMZN

Updated from 4:24 P.M. to include more information about the report.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Amazon (AMZN) reported a 22% fourth-quarter revenue hike on Tuesday, although the online retailer missed Wall Street's bottom line estimate.

Amazon earned 21 cents a share on $21.27 billion in revenue, as consumers flocked to the company for their holiday shopping needs.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the Seattle-based retailer to earn 28 cents a share on $22.26 billion in revenue during the fourth quarter. During the prior year's quarter the company earned 38 cents a share on $17.43 billion in sales.

Revenue rose 23% year-over-year in North America to $12.175 billion, while International revenue increased 21% to $9.09 billion.

The company's effective tax rate in the quarter was 57% and it paid $194 million in taxes on $334 million in operating income.

"We're now seeing the transition we've been expecting," said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in a statement. "After 5 years, eBooks is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast - up approximately 70% last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5%. We're excited and very grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle and our ever expanding ecosystem and selection."

First-quarter guidance was weaker than anticipated, with the company forecasting revenue between $15 billion and $16.6 billion. Analysts were expecting $16.85 billion in sales. Amazon expects first-quarter operating income between a loss of $285 million and a gain of $65 million.

Amazon's fourth-quarter operating margin was 1.9%, compared to 1.5% in the prior year's quarter.

The company will hold a conference call at 5 P.M. EST to discuss the results.

Shares of Amazon fell in regular trading, off 2.87% to wind up at $268.13. The stock is moving sharply higher in extended trading, climbing 8.83% to $283.33.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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