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Amazon this afternoon posted a 45 percent decrease in profits for its biggest quarter of the year, falling short of Wall Street’s expectations.

The company’s profits of $97 million for the December quarter translated into earnings of 21 cents a share, compared with the average of 29 cents projected by analysts polled in advance by Thomson Reuters.

Net sales increased 22% to $21.27 billion, but that also fell short of analysts’ expectations of $22.26 billion for the quarter.

The result was an improvement, at least, over the $274 million loss posted by the company in the third quarter.

More to come. Amazon’s quarterly conference call is coming up at 2 p.m. Pacific.

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