SEATTLE - Profit at the giant online retailer plunged 43% in its critical holiday-dominated fourth quarter, while revenue also fell below Wall Street expectations. The market acted predictably, driving down shares by 8% in after-hours trading.
   Net income was $199 million (€165.54m; £112.9m) compared with $346.7m in the year-earlier period. Sales rose from $2.54 billion to $2.98bn, short of analysts' $3.08bn target.
   Nor is the immediate future much brighter, with 2006 Q1 revenue estimated in the $2.14bn-$2.29bn range. The Street's expectation was $2.28 billion.
   Opines Hoefer & Arnett analyst Martin Pyykkonen: "I'd say it's disappointing because it's continuing to show a revenue deceleration in terms of the 2006 guidance that they're giving."