December 16, 1998 12:55 PM PST

Amazon up 46 points; report "clarified"

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A Wall Street analyst is explaining the bullish report he issued this morning that sent shares of online bookseller Amazon.com soaring more than 46 points by the closing bell.

CIBC Oppenheimer analyst Henry Blodget had released a report forecasting that Amazon's stock would reach 400 in the next 12 months. Traders piled on, sending the stock past the 300 mark before it finished the day up 20 percent at 289.

This afternoon, Blodget issued another report to "clarify" his forecast. The prediction was for 12 months, he said. Not one day.

"Like other Internet stocks," Blodget wrote, "[Amazon] is extremely volatile, and we expect to see the stock continue to advance in a three-steps-forward, two-steps-back fashion. We would point out that its recent advance looks lot more like four steps forward than three."

Still, Blodget held to his forecast. "There is still long-term upside for the shares," he said.

Other analysts aren't so sure. One called today's trading "crazy." Another, Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Lise Buyer, said that "for quite some time there has been a disconnect between the stock price and the underlying, visible fundamentals. I would expect increased volatility in both directions."

Amazon lost $45 million on revenues of $153 million in the quarter that ended September 30. Blodget said his firm "did not raise [the forecast] because we think Amazon.com will have a particularly strong fourth quarter."

The gains follow yesterday's burst that sent the stock up 20.5 points after news that the firm would go on the Nasdaq 100 Index.

Amazon's stock has more than doubled in the last month as the firm has moved into music and video retailing, and as it has expanded its partnerships with other retailers.

"It's momentum on momentum," Buyer said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 

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