News Clips— Needle Exchange

AMAZON.COM made a profit!

Sure, we understand that the big number associated with the online retailer's successful final quarter of 2001 (a $35 million pro forma profit) was created through omitting debt payments. But Amazon still posted a $5 million real profit—as compared to a real $545 million loss in the last quarter of 2000.

And the big boys are impressed. The New York Times published positive wire reports from both the Associated Press and Reuters after Amazon's announcement. "They are now a global e-commerce player," a German financial analyst told Reuters. The story goes on to credit Amazon's use of deep discounts to restart its fading book division. It also cites the post-Sept. 11 stay-at-home trend that boosted e-retailers last Christmas season, even as their bricks-and-mortar counterparts suffered.

Don't get too excited, though. According to CNBC-TV's Stock Scouter rating, shares still rate just "a middling 5 out of 10."

James Bush

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