Amazon Earnings Preview: Another Strong Q Expected

Amazon Earnings Preview: Another Strong Q Expected
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Amazon is scheduled to release its next earnings report on Thursday and is expected to continue posting losses on the back of continued investments in infrastructure, logistics and other areas. But while investors have shown signs of fatigue in accepting the online retailer’s string of quarterly losses, analysts remain positive going into this week’s earnings report.

What to expect in Amazon’s earnings report

You may remember that in last year’s third quarter, Amazon bombed big time, widely missing estimates with losses of 95 cents per share. This year, Nomura analyst Robert Drbul and his team are expecting losses of 15 cents per share, which is a penny worse than the consensus estimate. They want to see revenue of $25.3 billion, which would represent about a 23% year over year increase. They’re looking for a growth rate of 33.3% in North America and 3.5% internationally.

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In the E&GM segment, the Nomura team expects a 29% increase from last year, while in the Other category, their projecting a growth rate of 26%. They expect only a 1% increase in the Media segment but a 50% increase in Amazon Web Services. Their revenue estimates include negative currency impacts of about 620 basis points.

More momentum for Amazon shares?

Shares of Amazon have climbed by about 84% so far this year, although as of this writing, the stock was down 2.15% at $560.81 per share. Amazon’s climb compares to the S&P Internet Retail Index’s increase of about 62%. Amazon stock has climbed about 20% since the company’s second quarter earnings report in July, while the index has climbed 13% during the same time frame. As a result, Drbul and team expect Amazon shares to keep climbing—all the way up to their target price of $700 per share. They’re Buy-rated on the online retailer.

Since Amazon’s second quarter earnings report, it has unveiled a number of new initiatives and data points which the Nomura team says support their view. They report that data from ChannelAdvisor indicates that many of the second quarter trends continued into the third quarter. The firm also estimates that same store sales growth in North America is still surpassing the estimate of 15% e-commerce growth from comScore.

In Drbul’s view, Amazon “continues to be relentless in innovation,” and he notes that it continues to expand its Prime Now service geographically. Further, the online retailer has extended partnerships for Dash Replenishment Services and has unveiled new features in Amazon Web Services.

Growth expected in Amazon Web Services

Like most other analysts, Drbul highlights the strong growth in Amazon’s cloud business, and he continues to expect that it will drive profitability. Last year Amazon Web Services raked in $4.6 billion in revenues, and this year, he expects the business to hit $7.3 billion in revenues. By next year, he expects AWS to reach about $11 billion.

Further, the Nomura team expects the segment’s operating margins to remain in the mid-teens over the next couple of years.

Amazon steady going into the holidays

The 2015 holiday shopping season kicks off very soon, and Drbul expects Amazon to do well again. He thinks the online retailer remains “a looming competitive threat to traditional retailers” as its low prices and fast delivery are causing competitors to react with price-matching, improvements in delivery times, and better fulfillment options.

Further, he doesn’t think the success of Amazon Prime Day in July will take away from holiday sales.

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