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Amazon.com earnings fell 51% over holiday season

SHARE Amazon.com earnings fell 51% over holiday season

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon.com Inc. said Thursday its fourth-quarter earnings fell 51 percent from a year ago in the all-important holiday season. The Internet retailer's results were just ahead of Wall Street's expectations.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Amazon.com said it earned $98 million, or 23 cents per share, compared with $199 million, or 47 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting earnings of $90.4 million, or 21 cents per share, on $3.77 billion in sales.

The Seattle company said the most recent results were hurt by $91 million in income tax expenses in the quarter, compared with a tax benefit of $38 million in the comparable 2005 period.

Net sales for the three-month period were $3.9 billion, up 34 percent from $2.98 billion in the fourth quarter of 2005. The company said sales would have been up by 30 percent without the favorable $122 million impact of changes in foreign exchange rates.