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Amazon disclosed on Thursday a weaker-than-expected 22 per cent rise in quarterly sales, along with a disappointing revenue outlook, sending the e-commerce heavyweight’s shares down in after-hours trading.

Revenues hit $43.7bn in the fourth quarter, slightly lower than analysts had expected, and Amazon blamed foreign currency fluctuations for an unfavourable impact of $558m during the quarter.

The company also said that the pace of sales growth could slow during the first quarter, and issued guidance for sales between $33.25bn and $35.75bn, which would be an increase of between 14 per cent and 23 per cent from the previous year. Wall Street was forecasting revenues of $36bn.

Profits were higher than expected however, at $749m for the fourth quarter, or $1.54 per share, representing the second-most profitable quarter ever for the Seattle-based company.

During the full year of 2016, Amazon’s revenues grew 27 per cent – far faster than the US ecommerce sector as a whole – and reached $136bn.

The company’s share price fell 4 per cent in after-hours trading shortly after the earnings release.

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