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Most companies that tumble from an annual profit of $8.1bn to announce a second consecutive quarterly loss, this one of $2bn, could expect to be touching the toes and preparing for the market to give it a thrashing worthy of the fruitiest sections of Tom Brown’s Schooldays.

Normal rules don’t apply to Amazon, however, and this dip into the red was written off as a mere rounding error on the march to greatness. The share price shot up more than 10% as investors focused on rising sales and an upbeat forecast for the rest of the year...

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