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Amazon shares rallied in after-hours trading on Thursday after the e-commerce group posted a bigger than expected jump in quarterly profits and sales.

Revenues rose by 23 per cent year-over-year in the first quarter to $35.7bn. Net profits climbed to $724m, or $1.48 a share, from $513m, or $1.07 a share, on the same basis.

The results exceeded Wall Street forecasts for earnings of $1.08 a share on sales of $35.3bn. Shares zipped higher by 4.1 per cent in extended trading. That would add to a year-to-date rise of 22.5 per cent.

The Amazon Web Services division, which sells computing power in the cloud and is used by a wide range of companies, generated $3.67bn in revenues, up from $2.57bn in the same quarter in 2016. Profits were up to $890m from $604m.

For the current quarter, Amazon said it expects company sales to be $35.25bn to $37.75bn, compared with Street estimates of $36.91bn.

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