Today's Outrage: Amazon's Honesty (Update)

Forecasting $6 billion to $7 billion in fourth-quarter revenue just isn't good enough for this market.
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This market just wants to punish



How else can you explain the 13% drop in


(AMZN) - Get Report

shares Thursday after the company said it expects fourth-quarter revenue of between $6 billion and $7 billion. (You can read's coverage of the news here:

Amazon Plunges


Amazon's Outlook


Apparently that's not good enough, despite the fact that the U.S. economy is teetering on a recession. Wall Street wanted to see $7.05 billion.

OK, so Amazon's range was a little wider than usual. And CEO Jeff Bezos didn't inspire much confidence when he explained that "all companies have limited visibility now."

But maybe the greater outrage is that Amazon subtly adjusted its full-year profit outlook, as one astute reader pointed out to me.

Amazon scaled back the outlook to $716 million to $876 million in operating income for 2008. Back at the end of the second quarter, Amazon said it would be $745 million to $920 million.

No big deal, until you read the fine print. The

most recent forecasts

include a $53 million non-cash gain that wasn't mentioned

in the guidance offered three months ago


Seems rather convenient to include that cash this time around.