Oct 26 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc sales jumped 34 percent in the third quarter and profit topped analysts' estimates as Prime Day sales boosted its retail business and demand remained strong for its popular cloud service for companies.
The company's shares, which closed down 0.05 percent on Thursday, rose about 6 percent in after-hours trading following the quarterly earnings statement. They have gained about 30 percent this year.
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The world's largest online retailer said net income rose to $256 million, or 52 cents per share in the quarter ending Sept. 30. Analysts on average were expecting 3 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Amazon forecast fourth quarter operating income to range from $300 million to $1.65 billion. Analysts on average were expecting $1.5 billion, according to data and analytics firm FactSet.
Net sales in North America, its biggest market, jumped 34.8 percent to $25.45 billion in the third quarter.
Revenue from Amazon Web Services, the company's fast-growing cloud services business, surged 41.9 percent to $4.58 billion, beating the average estimate of $4.52 billion given in polling by data and analytics firm FactSet.
Total operating expenses also surged 35 percent to $43.4 billion as the company poured money into expanding its Prime program, creating original video content and building its warehouse and delivery infrastructure.
The company's net sales rose 33.7 percent to $43.74 billion from $32.71 billion, including $1.3 billion in about a month of sales for upscale grocer Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired for $13.7 billion in August.
Amazon's annual Prime Day shopping event in July was its biggest ever by sales. (Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham)