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Amazon.com stock hits record high

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Amazon.com Inc. hit their highest level ever on Monday, boosted by an upgrade from Morgan Stanley.

THE SPARK: Amazon's stock has been on the upswing since November, but an upgrade from Morgan Stanley's Scott Devitt pushed it to a record high. Devitt raised his rating on the world's largest online retailer to "Overweight" from "Equal-weight." He has a target price of $325.

Devitt said that Amazon's worldwide order fulfillment centers are an "underappreciated, strategic asset."

ANALYSIS: "Future success in both offline and online retail will be heavily dependent upon last-mile fulfillment capabilities," Devitt wrote in a note to investors. He added that companies such as Amazon, which can decrease the per-unit costs of shipping in exchange for fixed expenses, will have the opportunity to expand profit margins and take market share.

Devitt also notes that Amazon is ranked fourth in China when it comes to gross merchandise volume — a key metric that tracks items sold on its site. China, the analyst said, represents a large market for the company, but it must also make "enormous" investments to reap its benefits.

SHARE ACTION: Amazon's stock rose $8.30, or 3.2 percent, to $267.45 in afternoon trading. Earlier, the stock hit a record high of $269.30.