Amazon

  • 21 Nov
    Wait…what? Did Bezos really just say AMZN is doomed to fail?

    Wait…what? Did Bezos really just say AMZN is doomed to fail?

    Last week in Seattle, Amazon (AMZN) held an all-hands company meeting. When asked by an employee about the company’s future, founder and CEO said something that I don’t think most people would expect of any CEO, much less the CEO of one of the most disruptive companies in the world. “Amazon is not too big to fail,” he said. “In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt.”

    At first glance, his comment seems pretty surprising, especially given the way the company has expanded its presence from a simple online bookseller to a purveyor of just about anything and everything you might be able to imagine. Not content with simply operating as an online retailer, and with establishing a dominating presence, Amazon is one of the most aggressive companies in the world when it comes to identifying opportunities to move into new businesses. No longer just an online retailer, AMZN has really expanded its business model over the past decade or so.

    To keep pace with the tablet market, the company introduced its own line of e-book readers and tablet computers with the Amazon Fire product line. In a move that now seems prescient, in 2006 the company launched Amazon Web Services (AWS), aimed at cloud computing and data services; according to recent reports, they now own about 34% of the U.S. cloud market, putting them firmly in the driver’s seat in that arena. Another smart move was the introduction Amazon Prime in 2005; initially started as a paid membership shipping service, in 2012 it was expanded to include streaming video and music content, and now stands as a strong competitor in the streaming media business with Netflix (NFLX). They also made a big splash last year when they finalized a merger with Whole Foods Market, giving them a foothold in the grocery market that put big-box retailers like Walmart (WMT) and Target Stores (TGT) on edge.



    So why would the CEO of one of the most aggressive and disruptive companies with such a take-no-prisoners attitude about business make such a provocative statement? I think that when you read further, you get a good into the mindset that makes Bezos such an interesting figure in world business. He didn’t just stop at predicting his company’s doom; he expanded the discussion, explaining that large companies generally have lifespans that cover about three decades – not ten or more. 

    How could a company prolong its otherwise inevitable demise? By learning to “obsess over customers,” said Bezos. “If we start to focus on ourselves, instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end.” What I think you see is a glimpse into the mindset of an executive that has grown his company into one of the largest companies in the world by refusing to stand pat – not only by attacking new markets fearlessly and being willing to take big risks, but also by always looking for new ways to make the their customer’s lives better.

    What does this mean for an investor? The stock has been one of the biggest growth stocks of this bull market, increasing in price from a low in late 2008 in the mid-$30 range to a September high above $2,050. Since that high, the stock has dropped a little over 27%. Does this represent an opportunity to buy in at a discount? The problem is that just because a stock may have entered its own bear market territory – and 27% certainly means that bears are running a lot harder right now than bulls with AMZN – it doesn’t automatically mean the stock is a good value. AMZN has some very impressive fundamentals behind it, but as I think you’ll see, the value proposition offers conflicting information that to me translates to an increased level of downside risk.



    Fundamental and Value Profile

    Amazon.com, Inc. offers a range of products and services through its Websites. The Company operates through three segments: North America, International and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The Company’s products include merchandise and content that it purchases for resale from vendors and those offered by third-party sellers. It also manufactures and sells electronic devices. The Company, through its subsidiary, Whole Foods Market, Inc., offers healthy and organic food and staples across its stores. The Company also offers a range of products like whole trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, organic responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, creamy and crunchy almond butter, organic gala and fuji apples, organic rotisserie chicken. AMZN has a current market cap of $731,2 billion.

    • Earnings and Sales Growth: Over the past year, earnings increased a more than 1000%, while sales improved about 29%. Growing earnings faster than sales is hard to do, and generally isn’t sustainable in the long term, but it is also a positive mark of management’s ability to maximize its business operations. In the last quarter, earnings increased about 13.5%, while sales increased nearly 7%. The company operates with a margin profile that improved from 4% in the past twelve months to 5% over the last quarter.
    • Free Cash Flow: AMZN’s Free Cash Flow is more than $15.3 billion, which is impressive in terms of sheer numbers is very impressive, but considered against the scope of the size of their business gives a hint into the narrow room for error AMZN works with. Their Free Cash Flow Yield is a modest 2.07%.
    • Debt to Equity: AMZN has a debt/equity ratio of .63, which is a conservative number. Their balance sheet indicates more than $29.7 billion in cash against $24.6 billion in long-term debt.
    • Dividend: AMZN does not pay a dividend.
    • Price/Book Ratio: there are a lot of ways to measure how much a stock should be worth; but one of the simplest methods that I like uses the stock’s Book Value, which for AMZN is $80.01 per share. At the stock’s current price, that translates to a Price/Book Ratio of 18.69. The stock’s historical Price/Book ratio by comparison is 20.56 and puts the top end of the stock’s long-term price target at around $1,645 per share. AMZN may be down since September by more than 27%, but that translates to just about 10% of upside potential. The real conflict comes when you factor in the stock’s Price/Cash Flow ratio, which is trading more than 41.5% above its historical average that puts a contrasting target price at only $882.32 per share.



    Technical Profile

    Here’s a look at the stock’s latest technical chart.

     

    • Current Price Action/Trends and Pivots: AMZN’s downward slide since September is impressive in both its speed and and depth; the strongly bearish momentum certainly also implies that the worst could still be yet to come, with major support for the stock sitting at around $1,400 per share. A drop below that level could see the stock test the $1,300 level, with an even deeper low in the $1,200 level not out of the question. The stock has major resistance at around $1,600 per share and should be expected to act against any kind of sustained rally.
    • Near-term Keys: A short-term bullish trade is very speculative right now, and will continue to be unless the stock can push up to about $1,650 per share. That is a pretty good price level that could signal the long-term downward trend is about to reverse. A much higher probability set up will be seen if the stock breaks down below $1,400 per share. That could provide a good signal to short the stock or start working with put options. The spread between the target prices offered by the Price/Book and the Price/Cash Flow ratios is so extreme that it’s hard to justify the stock as any kind of value-based investment.


  • 24 Aug
    FAANG bubble? Basic valuation analysis says YES!

    FAANG bubble? Basic valuation analysis says YES!

    This New Tesla Coil is the Future of Electricity

    In 1891, Nikola Tesla stunned the scientific community by inventing a device that could transmit electricity through the air. This breakthrough device could power light bulbs and electric motors wirelessly, at a distance of a few feet.

    Read More

    It’s not quite 20 years since the “dot-com boom” became the “dot-com bust,” but as the market extends itself into the longest bull market in history, it’s hard not to see some of the same characteristics between the stock market in the years leading up to that crash and this one. More →

  • 10 May
    Walmart Looks Like Amazon Did 10 Years Ago

    Walmart Looks Like Amazon Did 10 Years Ago

    • Flipkart is the future, and WMT goes down 3%.
    • A good return with low risk can be reached with a prudent approach to investing in WMT.
    • WMT’s online business is now where Amazon’s was 10 years ago.



    Introduction

    Walmart (NYSE: WMT) recently announced that it will pay $16 billion for a 77% stake in Flipkart, the Indian online retailer. This is the company’s largest acquisition to date, and shows how in today’s world, it’s still important to look beyond current numbers and invest in growth.

    I want to discuss Walmart and what they are doing for the long term, compare that to Amazon, see whether their strategies are fairly valued by the market, and how to go about investing in WMT. More →

    By Sven Carlin Amazon Investiv Daily Walmart
  • 08 May
    Buffett: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

    Buffett: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

    We’ll continue today with my summary of Berkshire’s annual meeting, and the most important things an investor should remember and learn from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.

    If You Want A Formula, You Should Go Back To School

    On a question seeking a mathematical explanation of how to pick stocks, Munger said that investing cannot be put into a formula because they are always wrong. As always, investing is about commons sense.

    For Munger, Costco at a PE of 12 was simply extremely cheap even if the price to book was around 3. This leads to another interesting topic about asset light businesses.




    More →

  • 07 Dec
    The Delta Of The Delta – A Practical Approach To Growth Stocks

    The Delta Of The Delta – A Practical Approach To Growth Stocks

    • This market is all about growth stocks, so we should know what drives and how it impacts growth stocks.
    • With one example, I’ll show how the change in growth impacts a stock’s price.
    • It’s important to look at real growth possibilities as the market often gets extremely exuberant when looking at a few quarters with increasing growth rates.



    Introduction

    The current stock market is all about growth, and valuations don’t matter that much anymore. The question now is how to analyze growth stocks and what metrics to take into consideration when creating a risk reward model for any given growth stock. More →

  • 04 Aug
    Think The Biggest Companies Of The S&P 500 Will Outperform? History Says Otherwise

    Think The Biggest Companies Of The S&P 500 Will Outperform? History Says Otherwise

    • The strongest companies in the S&P 500 may look invincible now, but history shows us this won’t last forever.
    • None of the companies in the S&P 500’s 1980 top 10 are still there now.
    • Top 10 S&P 500 companies largely underperform the S&P 500 in the long term.

    Introduction

    Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) are the 5 largest holdings of the S&P 500 accounting for 11.74% of the index. The other 495 companies account for 88.26% of the S&P 500 which is a pretty strong imbalance, but that’s how the S&P 500 is formed. Its weightings are based on market capitalization. The bigger the market capitalization, the bigger the weighting in the index. More →

  • 23 Jun
    Does It Make Sense To Buy FAANG Stocks Now?

    Does It Make Sense To Buy FAANG Stocks Now?

    • With the exception of AAPL, all FAANG stocks have beaten the S&P 500 in the last 5 years.
    • By using Graham’s growth stock formula, I’ve determined the real value of FAANG stocks in order to see whether they are still a good investment.
    • Surprise, surprise, only one stock is overvalued, while some are still bargains.

    Introduction

    FAANG stocks—Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), and Alphabet, i.e. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL)—have been the clear drivers of the current bull market. And all but AAPL have significantly outperformed the S&P 500 index.

    The S&P 500 index is up 78% in the last 5 years, AAPL 73%, GOOG 228%, AMZN 334%, FB 389%, and NFLX a whopping 1,454%. More →

  • 03 May
    Think Only Brick & Mortar Retail Is In Trouble? Think Again.

    Think Only Brick & Mortar Retail Is In Trouble? Think Again.

    • The number of bankruptcies in retail is increasing and the probability of new bankruptcies is still high.
    • In the online environment, the competition is intensifying their efforts precisely at the moment when Amazon has finally reached some kind of profitability.
    • Price wars could make the whole online growth story a bad experience for investors. We’ll use Wayfair as an example.

    Introduction

    We’re seeing significant structural shifts in the retail environment where companies that were once considered blue chips are slowly going bankrupt, think Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD), while online retailer Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is crushing it.

    The question many ask is: are retailers cheap now and online retailers expensive, or is it the other way around? To answer this question, it’s extremely important to look at how the competition in the online space will affect margins. We’ll look at some situations and try to come to the best option for your portfolio. More →

    By Sven Carlin Amazon Investiv Daily Retail
  • 10 Nov
    Why You Should Switch To Active Investing Now

    Why You Should Switch To Active Investing Now

    • PE ratios in the S&P 500 are all over the place; 7 of the top 20 stocks have PE ratios below 15, 7 from 20 to 30, and 5 above 30.
    • You can buy stable, growing businesses at PE ratios below 15, so why would you stick to passive investing and buying riskier stocks at PE ratios of above 20?
    • Maybe you think passive investing meets the definition of “boring,” something investors such as Buffett advocated. I don’t wish you the excitement of watching your portfolio fall from a PE ratio of 24 to a PE ratio of 15. Therefore, think about rebalancing now before it’s too late.

    Introduction

    Yesterday we discussed how the economy is doing well but that the market isn’t responding accordingly. This is because of the high valuations where only exceptional catalysts can push the market higher while any kind of negative news easily brings it into negative territory. However, by analyzing recent earnings, we have found large discrepancies among sectors in revenue and earnings growth. We understand this is normal for a well-diversified portfolio, but do we have to own more of the overvalued stocks and less of the undervalued stocks as a market capitalization weighted index fund does? More →

  • 09 Sep
    How To Spot The Next Facebook, Amazon, Netflix or Google

    How To Spot The Next Facebook, Amazon, Netflix or Google

    • Earnings aren’t that important but revenue and customer growth is essential.
    • The business has to have the capacity to grow without issuing stocks.
    • Timing is everything with growth stocks.

    Introduction

    “FANG” is the name that has been given to the elite group of technology stocks that includes Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

    These magnificent 4 have delivered astonishing growth. Since its IPO, Amazon has returned 52,491% (yes, you read that correctly) to shareholders. The other three haven’t quite been that extreme, but have still seen incredible growth, with Netflix returning 9,198% since its IPO, Google returning 1,429%, and Facebook 338%. More →

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