Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) fell as much as 7 percent in Friday afternoon trading a day after the company’s first-quarter earnings report, although it wasn’t the earnings themselves that caught investors off-guard. It was the company’s guidance for the current quarter.
The online retail giant actually beat expectations for its first-quarter earnings, and its revenue was close to consensus, although just under it. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) guided for revenue of between $14.5 and $16.2 billion for the current quarter. The middle of that guidance is lower than the consensus estimate recorded by FactSet.
The low guidance is now sparking concern that growth at Amazon may be slowing. According to Reuters, analysts at three firms—Pacific Crest Securities, Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan—have all lowered their price target on the stock, attributing their lowered price targets to deceleration of the company’s top line.
If Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) does continue to see decelerating growth, investors are worried that its valuation will shift from being based on growth to being based on future earnings. One anonymous analyst cited by Reuters said even though the online retailer’s margins are improving, it isn’t generating enough income to warrant its current valuation. The analyst didn’t want to be identified because the view is considered to be a worst-case scenario.
In spite of today’s declines, shares of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) are still trading at around 100 times the company’s expected earnings this year and 75 times its expected profits for next year. In terms of valuation, shares of Amazon trade at around 20 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. To put that into perspective, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) trades at only 10 times that figure, while eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) trades at 11 or 12 times that figure.