Amazon stock ticked higher Monday morning after the company received a massive price target increase that’s well over the $1,000 a share mark. The tech giant is scheduled to release its first quarter earnings report on Thursday after closing bell, and analysts are expecting another strong report.
Amazon stock price target to $1,250
In his earnings preview note dated April 24, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter boosted his price target for Amazon stock from $900 to $1,250 per share, which is now the highest of the 46 analysts FactSet surveys. Pachter said he continues to expect “substantial earnings growth” from the company, although he added that the growth will continue to be “tempered by spending on new initiatives.”
For the first quarter, he’s looking for sales of $35.97 billion, which is a bit higher than the consensus at $35.3 billion and compares to management’s guide of $33.25 billion to $35.75 billion. He expects strong growth in Prime subscriptions to drive that revenue beat, along with strong sales of the company’s own branded products and growth in Amazon Web Services. He’s looking for earnings of $1.30 per share, which is well ahead of the consensus at $1.13 per share.
Pachter is estimating $1.06 billion in operating income, versus the consensus of $900 million and guide of $250 million to $900 million. He added that it appears as if the company has sped up its investments in film and TV content, more fulfillment centers, deliveries of fresh food and restaurant meals, and products and features for AWS.
Amazon stock price target to $975
Nomura Instinet analyst Anthony DiClement also boosted his price target for Amazon stock, although he’s much closer to Planet Earth than Pachter is. DiClement’s new target is $975, up from $925 per share just in time for the company’s next earnings report. He also reiterated his Buy rating on Amazon stock in his note dated April 24. While Pachter’s focus was on his new 2018 estimates, DiClemente is looking much further out, at his estimates for 2020.
In his earnings preview note, the Nomura analyst considered whether growing long-term confidence will be enough to offset a downward bias in estimates. He explained that currency headwinds likely weighed on Amazon’s first quarter results, but he has grown more confident in the company’s global growth due to its share gains in India and other countries. He also said his firm’s recent CIO survey indicates that AWS maintained its dominant position in IaaS/ PaaS over Microsoft Azure, although the latter appeared to close the gap between them a bit.
He feels that estimates for the first quarter appear “appropriately conservative” but warned that second quarter numbers may be at risk due to the company’s “aggressive” investing plans. He said that consensus numbers for the second quarter imply “aggressive” sequential margin expansion even though the company has many drivers for expense growth this year.
Amazon stock over Apple stock
Amazon has actually gained another distinction: some analysts are recommending it instead of Alphabet in some cases and even the Wall Street poster child Apple, in others. In their note dated April 24, Macquarie analysts Viktor Shvets and Chetan Seth explained why they prefer Amazon stock over Apple stock. They described Amazon as “a quintessential disruptor,” explaining that it has been continually evolving for over 20 years. They also said that while Alphabet and Facebook are still in the disruptor category (in their view), and Tesla and Netflix have been in the past, Apple never has been because they don’t see it as “a pure disruptor.”
They believe Amazon has “pioneered more breakthroughs than any other corporate” and that it has “caused greater disruption than almost anyone else (from product distribution to publishing and cloud computing to AI).” They added that this doesn’t mean that the company doesn’t make bad decisions, but rather, that it fixes the mistakes it makes and can “move rapidly to the next stage, before most other corporates recognize an opportunity.”
Shares of Amazon stock rose by as much as 1.04% to $907.85 during regular trading hours on Monday.