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Amazon hits all-time high as analyst upgrades

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October 18, 2013 12:06 PM EST | AP

NEW YORK — NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Amazon reached a new all-time high Friday as a UBS analyst raised the online retailer's rating and price target, saying it has a chance to speed up revenue growth heading into the holiday season.

THE SPARK: Eric Sheridan of UBS lifted Inc. to "Buy" from "Neutral" and increased its price target to $385 from $305.

THE ANALYSIS: Sheridan said in a client note that Amazon should be able to speed up its revenue growth in the fourth quarter and beyond in part because it should benefit from the rollout of new video games and gaming consoles, such as Sony Corp.'s Playstation 4 and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox One — which are expected to launch in November.

The analyst said that Amazon is well positioned going forward, as it has worked hard this year on bringing together its hardware and software through actions such as hardware launches, software improvements, streaming content additions and its Amazon Payments system.

Sheridan anticipates an in-line quarter for Amazon when it reports financial results on Thursday. He noted that the near-term may be volatile for online businesses, given eBay Inc.'s comments this week about expectations for a sluggish holiday season for the U.S. online business and potential impact of the temporary government shutdown.

SHARE ACTION: The stock climbed $14.18, or 4.6 percent, to $324.95 in midday trading. Earlier, it touched $325.64 — a fresh all-time high. Many technology-oriented companies are trading higher Friday. Google Inc.'s strong third-quarter results sent its stock past $1,000 per share for the first time since it went public nine years ago.