Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) is scheduled to report the results of its 2018 second quarter on Thursday, July 26, after the market close. The company has been one of the top performers in the market this year, up more than 50%, far outpacing the S&P 500, which is up just about 5% as of this writing.
Despite its meteoric rise so far this year, which has already seen the stock achieve all-time highs, at least one analyst believes Amazon still has further to climb. Investors might be justifiably skeptical of such a call. Rather than taking this at face value, let's take a look at his logic and see if his argument holds water.
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Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on Amazon to $2,000 from its previous level of $1,800 — the stock closed on July 19 with a share price of $1,812.97. That target, would give the company a market cap of more the $970 billion.
In a note to clients, a team led by analyst Michael Graham laid out a compelling argument for why they believe the company will continue to thrive.
E-commerce is just beginning
Worldwide e-commerce sales have been increasing at a fast clip and accounted for more than 10% of all retail in 2017. That trend is expected to continue, growing to more than 17% of all sales by 2021. Amazon's position as the world's largest online retailer and its growing network effect should help that growth continue.
Graham said, "We think fundamentals remain as strong as ever as e-commerce business continues to grow nearly 30%, [excluding] Whole Foods." The company's product sales recently accelerated, growing 33% and 35% year over year, respectively, in the two previous quarters.
Strong levels of investment
Amazon continues to invest a significant amount of its profits in growing the reach of its business. Graham notes that this is creating a wide moat against the competition. "Amazon's rapidly growing scale of investment is strengthening long-term competitive barriers," he said.
As outlined by my colleague Adam Levy, Amazon continues to invest in numerous other areas including, grocery delivery, its voice-activated Alexa products, Prime video, advertising, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Speaking of AWS, Amazon pioneered the concept of renting unused space on its servers in 2006, and cloud computing has become one of the company's fastest-growing and most profitable businesses. "AWS remains the market leader, accelerating growth to almost 50% last quarter," Graham said.
A look at Amazon's results for the first quarter confirms that view, as AWS grew 49% year over year, accounting for more than 10% of the company's revenue and nearly 73% of the company's operating profit. With that type of growth, some believe the cloud-computing operations could triple over the next five years.
A parting thought
Graham went a step further, saying, "We continue to see Amazon as having the most robust and durable growth outlook in the group," referring to the vaunted FANG stocks: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google-parent Alphabet. That's pretty high praise considering that the companies that make up the FANG acronym have all beaten the broader market by a wide margin this year.
Amazon also possesses a number of other advantages, including the growing adoption of its Prime membership, its fulfillment and logistics operation, and its industry-leading voice-activated speaker system, which encourages consumers to spend more on its e-commerce site.
With all of these things working in its favor, I think the analyst's price increase is justified — and the target may actually be a little too low.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Danny Vena owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A and C shares), Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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