Updated from April 22

Amazon.com ( AMZN) posted its third-straight profitable quarter, topping analysts' estimates.

In the first quarter, the e-commerce superstore earned $111.14 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with a loss of $10.12 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Boosted in part by the declining dollar, the company's revenue jumped 41.2% to $1.53 billion in the quarter.

The slumping dollar helped boost the nominal dollar value of Amazon's overseas sales. Such currency effects added about $87 million to the company's sales in the first quarter and about $7 million to its "consolidated segment operating income," a figure that excludes stock-based compensation and other noncash operating expenses.

Excluding stock-based compensation and other noncash charges and gains, Amazon would have earned $97 million, or 23 cents a share.

On this basis, analysts had projected that the company would earn 20 cents a share on $1.45 billion in revenue, according to Reuters' MultexNet service.

The company also upped its guidance for 2004. Amazon now expects to post operating income of between $380 million to $460 million on sales ranging from $6.45 billion to $6.85 billion. Previously, the company had projected it would post operating income ranging from $355 million to $455 million.

That puts the company's outlook more or less in line with Wall Street's forecasts and investors expressed some disappointment Amazon didn't better consensus. In premarket Instinet trading, the stock was down $2.36, or 4.8%, to $46.50. Amazon shares closed regular trading Thursday up $3.14, or 6.9%, to $48.86.

Assuming that the company's stock count and interest expenses remain relatively constant, the company's guidance implies pro forma earnings ranging from 88 cents to $1.07 a share. Analysts had projected 98 cents a share in earnings on sales of $6.66 billion.

But the company may fall short of analysts' estimates in the second quarter. For the current period, Amazon expects operating income ranging from $65 million to $85 million on sales of between $1.34 billion and $1.44 billion. Assuming that Amazon's stock count and its interest charges remain roughly the same in the second quarter as they did in the first, its guidance implies a pro-forma earnings range of about 15 to 20 cents a share.

Analysts surveyed by MultexNet had expected the company would earn 19 cents a share in the second quarter on a pro forma basis on $1.41 billion in sales.

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