Jim Bear

Jim Bear
Contributor since: 2012
Been hibernating for a while, but wanted to make an observation here.
Quick ratio year end 2011 = 0.84
Quick ratio year end 2012 = 0.80
Quick ratio year end 2013 = 0.75
Quick ratio six month end 2014 = 0.64
A dangerous short here. As Ana mentioned and rockstar1 calculated the current buyout is $97-98. And IMHO MNK is not buying a drug they are buying a marketing arm.
Look for the book "Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs"
I believe that MNK thinks the acquisition will enable them to take their line of drugs on a similar path with QCOR marketing help. This is the real value to them
Hi Paulo
I predict AMZN makes a penny over your estimate - 9 cents a share.
The headline reads Amazon BEATS consensus estimates (6 cents) by FIFTY PERCENT and it heads to 300 per share:)
I'm still short, but continuously hedging has saved part of my bacon.
You've done another excellent analysis. This has not stopped the large long term holders from coming in and supporting the stock at 255/260. But, it can't go on forever. It will get interesting when it drops below this range.
Hi Peter,
How does your blockdesk chart change based on the downgrade by JP Morgan's analyst? (He dropped his price forecast from $333 to $300.)
Hi Illuminati,
You're getting close to my thesis for shorting the stock.
My expectation is revenue growth will slow. I think those betting on a stock price increase expect margins to increase significantly. That is what is keeping the stock price up (Along with large holders seemingly defending a level of about 255/260 in the market). Amazon could do this by eliminating capital spending, eliminating stock options, raising prices, etc. And, it is possible, for a couple of quarters or maybe a year, this could potentially give a big jump to the stock price in the short term. i.e. they're finally making money:) (That is why I hedge my short position at times.)
In a longer term, strong competition would move in to the areas of Amazon space where they become vulnerable. So, while they could cut costs, I don't ever see them able to raise prices without attracting significant competition. I believe Amazon's last hope is that their infrastructure will save them. I don't think it will.
NWCorner
Just to add one more thought on your comment "They are still making themselves indispensable to an awful lot of 3rd party sellers and web sites."
I don't believe this is so if you look at how Amazon seems to be competing. Netflix outage of videos off AWS on Christmas eve, while Amazon videos continued. And, just today, the headline "Amazon tells iOS users not to download latest Kindle app update" And as I mentioned before, Borders Books.
These things could be part of a strategy or just accidents, only Amazon knows for sure. But, I sure would be careful if I was a company dealing with Amazon in an area where we were competing.
krk
Thanks, that was the study I was thinking about, but couldn't find a reference to it.
Illuminati
I agree with you. So far the market doesn't. I would appreciate it if you had any insight to why this is.
NWCorner
We agree - call it network effect or consumer laziness, it is a real thing. As I mentioned in the article this, in my view, is the only true "moat" that Amazon has left.
Speaking of the logistics functionality that Amazon uses and offers to other companies. When I was working many companies wouldn't do business with a competitor. For two reasons, first they didn't want to add a penny to a competitors profit. Second, and I believe more important, they did not want a competitor to have any insights into their business. It amazes me that 3P sellers are allowing Amazon to see, for example, which of their products are selling well.
Remember Borders Books, who in their naivety, in 2001 outsourced their e-commerce to Amazon (To concentrate on their core brick and mortar business) This alliance ended in 2007, shortly before Borders went bankrupt.
A reluctance to have Amazon privy to their sales information is I believe, is a significant reason why EBay is growing so rapidly in the area of 3P sales. So, I don't see Amazon as indispensable in this area, I see the 3P sellers that use them as naive as Borders was in its day.
In addition, today the major companies that compete with Amazon see it as a threat and respond in appropriate ways.(Price cutting seems to be one) In earlier days Amazon was under the radar and not really considered as competition. It is today.
Talking about infinite selection and dealing with sales people.
There was a study done, I'm sorry that I can't find a reference,Samples were set out in a store. In one test there were six samples and in the other there were twenty four. Results showed that too many choices decreased sales. Sales when only six items were used were higher.
Regarding phone orders; a phone order from a (received by mail) catalog is my wife's preferred way of ordering -from LLBean for example. They have a website and we have internet, she just prefers talking to a real person. They are not sales people, they have obviously been trained to be very helpful. This may be something of a generational thing.
Last, getting things by mail or UPS, to me the issue is if it isn't right. (It doesn't fit, it doesn't work, it is damaged in shipment, etc.) Books and electronics work but I'm not so sure about shoes or Amazon's recent venture into high fashion. People like to try these things on.
NWCorner
Thanks for the thought provoking discussion. As a writer of an article I must disclose my position (short) with AMZN. Do you mind telling me - do you work for or consult for Amazon and do you hold a position in the stock? I ask because you have no articles and five comments defending Amazon starting about two weeks ago (Feb. 14)
As I said earlier these different views are what make a horse race. (For the bettors that is) and, bottom line the issue is the future of AMZN stock price. I have some additional comments to make, but need to do some fact checking first.
NWCorner,
Paragraph that starts "Still, my guess is that Amazon is going to continue to outsmart nay-sayers, enter new businesses, and find itself a niche to exploit in most of them..."
Your guess is as good as mine and that's what makes a horse race.
It does get harder to maintain both dollar and percentage growth though at Amazon's size.
I do agree they continue to look for niches. I see them targeting two presently. First, office supplies vs. OfficeDepot/Office Max and Staples. Poorly managed companies that continue to sell Kindles and cut their own throats. Second, industrial supplies vs. Grainger. I don't know enough to make an intelligent comment here about how this will pan out.
Regarding Jeff Bezos, I see him less a Steve Jobs and more a Bill Gates. As with Microsoft there are many multimillionaires now from Amazon, some of whom have left. Like Mr. Gates, who left active management and got involved in world health, Mr. Bezos seems to be getting involved with space exploration.
In addition, as with Microsoft, the stock option benefits decrease the later an individual gets in, and it is very late now for new Amazon employees.
NWCorner,
Paragraph that starts "One area where there ISN'T increasing return to scale is customer care...."
Agreed. I personally haven't had any problem, but I haven't had any problem with other sources I use so far either.
NWCorner,
Paragraph that starts "The cost of shipping to the end user (customer) has to be borne by someone,,,"
Good point on driving vs. getting a delivery. Two additional thoughts; First, two couple households with both working - who is there to take delivery? And, if you're out why not just stop at the store? Second, (as when trading stocks) I always look at the downside. The downside with getting a delivery is if it isn't right then you have the major hassle of return.
You are right "infinite shelf space" is there on the internet. It is there on the internet for every company. Not an advantage for Amazon. If you search through Google, EBay or Bing for all suppliers you will see the infinite variety. (Again, I would use Amazon to check ratings on the item) Variety was of a large value with books where there are millions of SKUs. Not so much with say consumer electronics.
No doubt e-commerce is here to stay and many people prefer to shop from home. Back in the good old days they did it with catalogs, some still do. I recently read that catalog sales of shoes were about 5% of the market. I can't believe this will increase much just because it can be done with a mouse click vs. a phone call. So, Zappos, presently a nice piece of Amazon business - did they sell out just as the growth curve was flattening?
NWCorner,
Thanks for your thoughtful response. I am going to respond to individual paragraphs with separate notes to keep length down.
Paragraph that starts "I think you're right that the internet (via Amazon and others) has forced more competition..."
You are right about better pricing from suppliers to larger companies. I remember many years ago working for a corner drug store that sold sundries as well. The owner would send me across the street to the chain supermarket where I would buy,for his stock, among other things, soap for a lower cost than from his wholesaler. Some things never change. He continued to run a successful business and sold soap at a higher price.
You do pinpoint the key issue for any large company, using cash flow to finance growth. The key is guessing right on areas that will supply the massive growth needed when you are that large.
Last, what you call the "network effect" I call consumer laziness. As I mentioned, I use Amazon for their reviews. I will buy from them when it is to my advantage, but presently I have a network of other on line sellers with my credit and mailing information. It is just as easy to buy from them as Amazon.
investor_12 - How long have you been working for Amazon?:)
BTW most furniture stores will deliver right to your door for free also. Going to the store allows you to try out a furniture item for comfort, and avoid what would be a MAJOR hassle in dealing with the return of an item this large.
I am really interested to see how AMZN does in the grocery business. It does seem to be their kind of business, massive top line growth potential with no profit.
streetwatcher - Thanks for all the excellent information. Among the things I wasn't aware of; FetchBook.info and the free e-books site, and I've added them to my file of alternate booksellers.
It sounds like you may be a 3P seller getting somewhat disenchanted with AMZN. I wonder when the next internet entrepreneur comes along and takes advantage of this developing AMZN weakness.
Peter - Information on Kindle satisfaction is actually available on the Amazon site. Go to the Kindle model of interest and scroll WAY DOWN to get to the star ratings. Check the one and two star ratings for real information. I checked this a number of months ago and found for the models I checked about 35% ratings with these stars. Checking now the percentage has dropped. I wouldn't accuse AMZN of rigging the ratings, although they recently have announced that they do not post or will remove some star ratings.
bobelouis - Thanks for the information I wasn't aware.
krk - Thanks for the information, I wasn't aware.
VMedia - Two things, first you're right about the sales tax, and AMZN took major advantage of that for their entire existance. Now that many states are beginning to collect taxes on AMZN purchases AMZN is supporting federal legislation to make online purchases subject to sales tax. Obviously don't want to give competition the advantage they took for all these years. Proposed legislation will still allow smaller online retailers to avoid collecting tax.
Second, I hate to mention it, but you make my point about consumer laziness when you say; "I hate going to third party sites as I have to re-enter all of my information, CC info, etc. over again" On the other hand once you have established this information with another seller you don't have to enter it again. And then if it is a company that doesn't collect tax you will wind up with a significant saving (say 8% tax dollars) on a large purchase. When you have a web of these additional suppliers AMZN becomes your showroom because they still have the most reviews.
VMedia - Thanks for the information. I wasn't aware of those facts.
Hi Bruce. Ah, 1997, but then AMZN didn't have to deal with the Law of Large Numbers as related to finance (As a company grows, its chances of sustaining a large percentage in growth diminish.)
Presently AMZN is still growing (sales dollars anyway) at a much larger percentage than WMT. If you look at absolute sales dollars, not so much.
Thanks Michael. The reason I took the personal perspective was I have already read many fine articles on Seeking Alpha of the macro view of Amazon. My perspective was the micro view of one family of (I hate the word) consumers.
Timothy - I agree with your factual arguments. If that was all it took AMZN would certainly not be at this level.
As I mentioned to Paulo, I do find it interesting that with the multitude of analyst stock price upgrades that have come out in the last few weeks none have upgraded earnings.
Yet with the bullish bias in the current market I can see a further upside to AMZN. Their stories have worked over the past years. So, while I am short it is a cautious short based on their past market performance. I agree it is a frustrating stock to watch based on any fundamental metric.
Paulo - I agree, but with AMZN it has been the story not the real world. With a current bullish trend in the market I can see stories working for another quarter.
I do find it interesting that with the multitude of analyst stock price upgrades that have come out in the last few weeks none have upgraded earnings. Maybe there is hope yet for us shorts:)
Amazon is a 1990s story stock. These very fine Seeking Alpha fundamental analysis articles and well written articles on options and technical charting miss the point. (Full disclosure I am short Amazon with a small position that I will hedge Monday and increase when I believe it is appropriate.) The near term stock price will have little to do with sales and earnings.
The keys coming into Tuesdays earnings are two releases that came out in the last few weeks and will be topics, I am sure, on the earnings call. They are: Foxconn Allegedly Manufacturing Amazon's Smartphone Model and Amazon Woos Advertisers with What It Knows about Consumers
In one a smartphone is expected from Amazon the second or third quarter of this year. In the other Amazon is said to have better data for advertisers than Google. This is what will drive share prices higher. We first might see a repeat of last quarter where the stock dropped dramatically In afterhours trading (down to about 205 if I recall) and recovered and during the next days trading.
Actually, on the Friday CNBC Options Action show there was an April put spread (265/245) suggested for AMZN.
Avi - I would like to know your broker, who it seems, allows you to go long and short in your account.
AMZN can still go higher with momentum players, although the stock and its touts seem to be running out of "bigger fools".
The Monday Morgan Stanley upgrade moved the stock to a record high with a new price target of '$325. There was 70% of average daily volume moved in the first two hours of trading, 140%+ for the day.
Today three firms upgraded AMZN (Goldman Sachs, Bernstein Research, Benchmark Co.) with price targets of $315, $283, $310. There were also nice words from the uber tout Cramer on CNBC this morning.
So far, volume in the first two hours is about 33% of average daily volume. Price is close to the all time high ca 270, which I see as resistance. Initial support about 260.
Full disclosure, I too am short AMZN, waiting to put on a full position. I am waiting to see if it breaks through 270 to establish a new high and go somewhat higher from here before I increase my position.
Maybe AMZN should stop selling Kindles entirely and Really increase their eps:)
Interesting article, The only comment I would add is to check out the recently posted article by Wim Lewi here on SA -
How Much Profit Will Amazon Eventually Make?
This is part of my reason for being short AMZN and challenging your one statement "AMZN is well on the way to growing into a reasonable PS ratio and, as it matures, should be able to improve margins considerably."
Margins are not going to improve IMHO
Low volume amazing considering they ran a $129 special on the Kindle Fire. Well, not too amazing as it is rated 1,2 or 3 stars on the AMZN site by 40% of the raters. (You have to scroll very far down on the page to find ratings)
What is surprising is stats showing sales volume smaller than the Nook.