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Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) stock is soaring today, and analysts are rushing to raise price targets and ratings.
The world's largest online retailer showed its muscle by reporting healthy earnings after the close Thursday, handily beating Wall Street estimates.
The news sent shares soaring almost 15% in after-hours trading. AMZN stock was up more than 16% Friday by 1:30 p.m. EDT to $228.59.
The Seattle-based company reported first-quarter sales jumped 34% to $13.18 billion, compared with $9.86 billion in the first quarter of 2011. Estimates were for $12.9 billion.
Net income slipped to $130 million or 28 cents per diluted share, compared to $201 million or 44 cents a year ago. Despite the decline, it was still heads above the mean forecast for 7 cents a share.
Worldwide media sales surged 19% to $4.71 billion and worldwide electronics and other media merchandise swelled 43% to $7.97 billion.
But the number that really triggered a slew of analyst upgrades was Amazon.com's profit margin increase. The company's gross margin widened to 24% from 22.8% for its best year-over-year improvement in years.
"Bulls have been waiting a long time for this gross margin upside and it finally came in the first quarter," Macquarie Equities Research analyst Ben Schachter told Reuters.