The world's largest online retailer, Amazon Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) said late Tuesday that its first quarter profit more than doubled, sending shares of the company up more than 20 percent in Wednesday trading.

Earnings of $111 million, or 26 cents per share on $3.02 billion in sales helped send shares of the Seattle-based past its previous 52 week high in Wednesday afternoon trading. A year ago, the firm earned $51 million, or 12 cents per share. On average, analysts expected earnings of 15 cents per share on $2.92 billion in sales, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

Amazon stock rose $10.78, or 24.11 percent, to $55.54 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Its previous 52-week high was $45.32 on April 17.

The company also benefited from stronger web traffic during the quarter, according to Nielsen//Netratings. The web tracking firms said Tuesday that Traffic to Amazon-owned retail sites grew 5 percent year over year, from a three month average monthly unique audience of 47.8 million in 2006 to 50.4 million in 2007.

Traffic also translated into more purchases. Nielsen said the number of purchases at Amazon grew 12 percent to 23.1 million, compared to 20.6 million a year ago.

The company also narrowed its projections for the second quarter. It now expects revenue in the range of $2.70 billion to $2.85 billion. Previously it had projected revenue in the range of $2.8 billion to $3.00 billion.

The firm also raised its range for full year 2007 expectations, which it expects to be between $13.40 billion and $14.00 billion, compared to $13.00 billion and $13.70 billion at the end of the last quarter.

Analysts, had been expecting revenue of $2.69 billion for the second quarter.