Amazon stock was little changed on Tuesday as analyst reports offering a preview of the online retailer’s next earnings report continued to pour in. In a bold contrarian firm, one firm downgraded it, running in the opposite direction of almost everyone else on Wall Street. The downgrade came the same week as two big price target increases.
Amazon stock downgraded for margins
In a note dated April 25, Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler downgraded Amazon stock from Outperform to Market Perform, saying that he needs to see a stronger improvement in margins. His previous target price was $925, and he feels that at current levels, Amazon stock is fairly valued. He noted that the shares have skyrocketed 44% over the last 12 months and are up 21% year to date despite the mixed fourth quarter results.
The analyst notes that for the first quarter, Wall Street is expecting $900 million in operating income, which is at the high end of management’s guidance range. He feels this is reasonable but warns that investors may be disappointed by the second quarter, as consensus for operating income stands at $1.49 billion, versus his estimate of $1.2 billion. He added that over the last couple of years, the company’s GAAP operating income has climbed by about $200 million sequentially, but the consensus implies a $600 million increase.
Amazon stock price target to $1,100
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry boosted his price target for Amazon stock from $1,000 to $1,100 (an ultra-bullish target that’s still well below the Street-high target of $1,250) and reiterated his Buy rating in a note dated April 24. He said that investors are currently focused on the near-term impacts on profit from the company’s ongoing investments in logistics, content and India.
However, he believes that what’s more important is what impact these investments will have on the company’s growth outlook in retail and Amazon Web Services. He feels that consensus has historically had a poor track record when it comes to forecasting the reacceleration of growth from investments such as these. This is a problem because Amazon stock has been directly tied to reacceleration of growth in the past.
He highlighted that in the past, “periods of heightened investment” have been a “formidable leading indicator of revenue growth acceleration” for the company.
Currently the company is in a period of such heightened investment as it expands its fulfillment infrastructure and spending on content. Noting that historically, the consensus has not captured growth inflections, Terry predicts that revenue growth will come faster than what consensus is expecting at this time, outweighing near-term pressure on margins.
Shares of Amazon stock were little changed during regular trading hours on Tuesday as they hovered around $907.20.