Seeking Alpha

Tech ratings changes: Amazon, Intuit, Veeco, comScore, Itron

  • Amazon (AMZN -1.6%) has been cut to Neutral by UBS. The firm cites Amazon's soft Q4 top-line performance, and a CIRP survey that indicates only 58% and 24% of Prime subs would respectively renew following price hikes of $20 and $40 (currently under consideration).
  • Intuit (INTU -5%) has been cut to Underweight by Evercore following its FQ2 guidance cut.
  • Veeco (VECO +3.1%) has been upgraded to Outperform by Credit Suisse ahead of its Feb. 19 Q4 report.
  • comScore (SCOR -0.8%) has been upgraded to Outperform by Northland following its Q4 beat.
  • Itron (ITRI +5.5%) has been upgraded to Buy by Needham ahead of today's Q4 report.
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Comments (19)
  • ReligiousWacko
    , contributor
    Comments (1477) | Send Message
     
    hahaha .. i'm cynical and a total cheapskate but I never imagined a 58% renewal rate with $20 price hike. Even I'm a bit skeptical of those results.

     

    Then again, I've bought 3 items from amazon in last year. Twice, I have signed up for Amazon Prime trial ( different emails, credit cards ) and then canceled after item arrived.
    12 Feb 2014, 09:58 AM Reply Like
  • SA Editor Eric Jhonsa
    , contributor
    Comments (988) | Send Message
     
    Agree - consumer surveys have a habit of overstating negative reactions to price hikes. That said, Amazon can't be happy to see those numbers.
    12 Feb 2014, 10:00 AM Reply Like
  • ReligiousWacko
    , contributor
    Comments (1477) | Send Message
     
    But if around 20 percent do quit at $20 price hike, that would mean that total Prime membership fees wouldn't even go up. And I could see 15-20 percent easily.
    12 Feb 2014, 10:19 AM Reply Like
  • SA Editor Eric Jhonsa
    , contributor
    Comments (988) | Send Message
     
    True. But for Amazon, I think what really matters is the marginal cost of supporting a Prime sub. If (hypothetically) Amazon is taking a $100/year loss supporting Prime subs before accounting for membership fees, then maybe a price hike is still worth it in spite of major sub losses.

     

    Of course, this ignores any long-term benefit from higher customer loyalty and buying activity that would come from keeping those subs.
    12 Feb 2014, 10:41 AM Reply Like
  • Esekla
    , contributor
    Comments (3676) | Send Message
     
    Yes, I commented at the end of the article referenced below that Amazon is actually likely to use grandfathering to get a bump in membership, and decrease churn, at least temporarily.
    12 Feb 2014, 10:57 AM Reply Like
  • ReligiousWacko
    , contributor
    Comments (1477) | Send Message
     
    True .. but I thought only thing that mattered was revenue growth. Looking at business fundamentals screams massive bubble imho ..
    12 Feb 2014, 11:24 AM Reply Like
  • Esekla
    , contributor
    Comments (3676) | Send Message
     
    The CIRP survey is significant for AMZN. Customer acceptance of a Prime price hike is one of the key factors that I cite as showing whether or not the company has value as a portal, rather simply a retailer:

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    12 Feb 2014, 10:03 AM Reply Like
  • 6034700
    , contributor
    Comments (864) | Send Message
     
    No question a flawed survey because humans automatically respond in a negative fashion when asked if the will pay more and most people express a negative opinion hoping to influence the company that is increasing the price.

     

    This is common sense and when it comes down to paying the additional cost the results will not be significant.
    12 Feb 2014, 10:11 AM Reply Like
  • asaasd sdasmmasa
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
     
    AMZN is undisputed king of online retail. It is going to be much bigger than WALMART in 10 years. But there is always an unknown factor in their earnings , spending and margins ! sometimes I've a fear that to capture market they are selling goods for a loss (like GM and F cars in 90s).
    12 Feb 2014, 11:27 AM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (3949) | Send Message
     
    "AMZN is undisputed king of online retail. It is going to be much bigger than WALMART in 10 years. But there is always an unknown factor in their earnings , spending and margins ! sometimes I've a fear that to capture market they are selling goods for a loss (like GM and F cars in 90s)."

     

    WMT is the undisputed king of B&M retail. They are the largest grocer in the country. They pay a dividend and don't trade at a ridiculous multiple. And unlike Bezos, they actually care about generating profits for their shareholders.

     

    The cracks are starting to form in the AMZN house of cards
    12 Feb 2014, 01:02 PM Reply Like
  • Julian Acosta
    , contributor
    Comments (129) | Send Message
     
    Walmart is also one of the most hated companies in American and Amazon is one the most beloved.
    12 Feb 2014, 01:14 PM Reply Like
  • portatopia
    , contributor
    Comments (1209) | Send Message
     
    People have different standards for Waltmart and AMZN. Waltmart is being hated for destroying local mom and pop stores and treating their employees like crap. At least Walmart pays property and sales tax that contribute to the economy to the state. Amazon, on the other hand is being praised for destroying B&M stores including mom and pop stores of course, and evading sales tax. Everybody is saying about how great AMZN's service was but they don't understand that AMZN squeezes their vendors and destroyed the publishing industry for the worse. Also they also failed to see how AMZN treat the fulfillment center empolyees like slaves, far worse than Walmart.
    12 Feb 2014, 04:13 PM Reply Like
  • ReligiousWacko
    , contributor
    Comments (1477) | Send Message
     
    Portopia .. i agree there is total hypocrisy on how Walmart and Amazon are perceived especially among limousine liberals. Store and warehouse employees are treated horribly by both. As you noted, at least Walmart pays local taxes while one of Amazon's greatest moats was to enable illegal tax evasion. I could see how rapid tea party types might approve but fail to see why liberals seem to approve as well.
    12 Feb 2014, 09:01 PM Reply Like
  • positivethoughts
    , contributor
    Comments (2011) | Send Message
     
    Liberals will turn on Amazon after they destroy Walmart.
    13 Feb 2014, 09:13 AM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (3949) | Send Message
     
    "Liberals will turn on Amazon after they destroy Walmart."

     

    Wouldn't hold my breath

     

    http://usat.ly/1lJ2kW2
    13 Feb 2014, 10:07 AM Reply Like
  • DianeLee
    , contributor
    Comments (360) | Send Message
     
    AMZN's Cloud platform is exceptional in its volume allowance and ease of use. Customer service is exceptional, too. There is still value in Prime, even with a $20 increase, IF it is used. Anyone who loves "deals" will appreciate AMZN's constant search for the "deals" and follow-up policies are....guess what....exceptional, too. The downgrade seems excessive.
    12 Feb 2014, 12:00 PM Reply Like
  • NYer1
    , contributor
    Comments (1444) | Send Message
     
    The first in a long string of future downgrades..all we need to do is wait and let the JB "business" model take care of the company's destruction..
    I think the analyst community and likewise institutional investors would give AMZn a much shorter leash if next QTR. comes up with another disappointing sales growth number and an Earnings (sorry for the dirty word..) miss
    12 Feb 2014, 12:16 PM Reply Like
  • positivethoughts
    , contributor
    Comments (2011) | Send Message
     
    I would order off Amazon about 30 times more than I do if they would increase their offerings in Canada. In the U.S., consumers have alot of choice. But around the rest of the world, companies like Amazon would do well because they fill a void that less competitive operators cant.

     

    If Amazon can expand internationally, I think they will see good results.
    12 Feb 2014, 02:57 PM Reply Like
  • Daveintexas
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    I ordered so much stuff from Amazon Prime I am probably responsible for the loss. I would pay the hike. I love getting stuff in the mail. Like Christmas everyday!
    13 Feb 2014, 03:08 PM Reply Like
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