Amazon reports 24 percent sales gain

Amazon.com’s revenue rose more than Wall Street expected in its fiscal third quarter, but the online retailer posted another loss due to ongoing investments in its business.

Steady profits have proven elusive for the world’s largest online retailer as it spends heavily on filling orders, marketing and technological improvements and innovations. But investors were cheered by its revenue forecast for the fourth-quarter, a sign of confidence and optimism as it enters the key holiday shopping season. Shares rose 8 percent in after-hours trading.

Amazon has been busy launching new products, expanding the number of fulfillment centers and adding robots to its line to help get packages out the door. Operating expenses rose 24 percent during the quarter.

The Seattle-based company posted a loss of $41 million, or 9 cents per share, for the quarter that ended in September, matching analyst expectations. That compared with a loss of $274 million, or 60 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. The prior year includes a one-time $169 million loss related to its stake in online deals site LivingSocial.

Revenue jumped 24 percent to $17.09 billion from $13.81 billion. Wall Street predicted $16.76 billion, according to FactSet.

Amazon said it expects revenue for its fourth quarter to fall between $23.5 billion and $26.5 billion, bracketing analysts’ prediction of $25.88 billion. That’s also up 10 to 25 percent from its fourth quarter last year.

Shares of Amazon.com Inc. increased $27.19 to $359.90 after the market’s close. Its shares increased $5.45 to close regular trading at $332.21 Thursday, up 32 percent this year.

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