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Amazon hovers near all-time high, analysts upbeat

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Amazon.com Inc. hovered near the all-time high on Wednesday as analysts continued to express optimism about the world's largest online retailer, thanks to increasing sales of digital content and a growing international footprint.

Amazon's stock hit a record high of $269.73 on Tuesday after a Morgan Stanley analyst upgraded the company to "Overweight" from "Equal-weight." He called Amazon's worldwide order fulfillment centers an "underappreciated, strategic asset."

On Wednesday, Benchmark analyst Daniel Kurnos raised his target price on Amazon to $310 from $260, and said rising digital sales, helped by the successful launch of a slate of devices in September, could help the company beat analysts' estimates for fourth-quarter earnings. Amazon launched several new Kindle devices last fall. Its strategy is to offer the Kindle at relatively low prices and make money selling electronic books, movies and other content for it.

"While we recognize that revenue could be somewhat at risk from a softer-than-expected finish in the domestic e-commerce market, we believe Amazon continued to take global market share," the analyst, who has a "Buy" rating on Amazon, wrote in a note to investors.

Kurnos added that as the world's top online retailer, Amazon has outpaced the e-commerce market, retailers and "even Internet leaders like Google meaningfully."

Shares of Seattle-based Amazon climbed 69 cents to $267.07 in morning trading. Earlier, the stock hit $269.50, slightly below Tuesday's all-time high.