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UPDATE 1-Amazon launches reading feature for U.S. Prime members

(Adds details, company background, share move)

Oct 5 Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday launched a new feature for its U.S. Prime members called Prime Reading, which adds a selection of Kindle books, magazines and comics to its loyalty program at no additional cost.

Prime Reading would not require members to own a Kindle e-reader or a Fire tablet but can be accessed through a Kindle app on iOS and Android devices.

The Prime loyalty program already offers original TV programming and access to digital entertainment products such as Prime Music and Prime Video, as well as one-hour delivery of purchases, for an annual fee of $99.

The service has seen strong growth in its subscriber base in the last few quarters.

Morgan Stanley said on Wednesday it now expects the total number of Prime subscribers to reach 100 million by 2018, up from its previous forecast of 88 million.

The brokerage increased its price target on the stock by $150 to $950, among the highest on Wall Street. SunTrust Robinson also raised its price target to $850 from $800.

Alphabet Inc's launched a range of consumer electronics products for the home on Tuesday, including a smart speaker called "Home" that will compete with Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo speaker system.

Amazon's shares were up marginally at $838.93 in morning trading. Up to Tuesday's close, the stock had risen nearly 76 percent since hitting a 2016 year low of $474 in February. (Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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