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Mar. 30, 2015, 12:07 PM
- Four months after the company started promoting local services to its customers, Amazon (AMZN +0.8%) has launched a Home Services site with the help of partners such as TaskRabbit, Pep Boys, and TakeLesons. Market leader Angie's List (ANGI -4.6%) isn't reacting well to the news.
- Amazon exec Peter Faricy: "We have 85 million Amazon customers who have shopped for products this past year that often require a service afterwards." 700 services are initially supported; much like Angie's List, Amazon argues it helps connect consumers with trustworthy businesses. Only 3 out of every 100 professionals in each metro are said to be accepted, with Amazon making sure each business is licensed, insured, and passes a background check.
- The e-commerce giant also claims it only takes 60 seconds for a customer to buy a service. Faricy: "We have standardized and prepackaged all of our service offerings. So you know exactly what is going to be done and how much it’s going to cost you, up front, no surprises."
- 41 states are currently supported; Amazon wants to provide strong coverage across the 30 biggest U.S. metro areas. The Verge notes a beta version of Amazon's site suggests the company is taking a 20% cut on standard services, 15% on custom services, and 10% on recurring services.
Mar. 10, 2015, 12:51 PM
- ChannelAdvisor (ECOM -3.6%) clients saw their Amazon (AMZN -2.1%) same-store sales rise 22.7% Y/Y in February. That's down from January 27%, and also below the growth seen during 9 of the prior 10 months (December being the exception). Growth peaked at 45.1% in August.
- 38% of tracked Amazon sales relied on Amazon's fulfillment services (FBA), up from 32.2% a year earlier. 2.3% of sales relying on FBA involved non-Amazon transactions. Amazon stated in its Q4 report 3rd-party sellers using FBA grew 65% in 2014, and made up over 40% of Q4 3rd-party units.
- eBay (EBAY -2.5%) continues to lose share: Its ChannelAdvisor same-store sales grew 5.1% in February, down from January's 6.8% and below total U.S. e-commerce growth of 15% (per comScore) - auctions -26.2%, fixed-pride +8.6%, Motors +25.2%. eBay is coming off a Q4 in which its Marketplaces GMV only rose 2% Y/Y (3% U.S. growth, 1% international).
- Search ad-based same-store sales (largely involving Google ads) rose 10.7%, with rising clicks and orders offsetting declining ad prices. Google Shopping-related (NASDAQ:GOOG) same-store sales grew 20.7%.
- Amazon and eBay are both underperforming on a down day for equities. Amazon's volume has been below-average, and eBay's above-average.
Mar. 4, 2015, 1:58 PM
- A day after slumping to new post-IPO lows and coming within $0.03 of $80, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has seen dip-buyers emerge in large numbers. Naturally, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is along for the ride.
- The gains come as a Chinese publication reports Jack Ma once said he considered acquiring Yahoo, which plans to spin off its Alibaba stake into a publicly-traded company in Q4. Ma's alleged comments: "The acquisition of Yahoo is something I worked [on] a couple of years ago, this is a political problem, not an economic problem, Yahoo is a media [company], more sensitive."
- There has already been speculation Alibaba will try to buy Yahoo's spinoff (much less politically challenging than buying the whole of Yahoo) at some point. Bloomberg's Matt Levine has noted the spinoff will have to wait a year before a deal occurs, in order to maintain its tax-free status.
- Meanwhile, Alibaba's Aliyun cloud services unit (a giant in the Chinese cloud infrastructure market) has opened a Silicon Valley data center, its first in the U.S. For now, the data center will cater to Chinese companies with U.S. operations, but it plans to go after non-Chinese clients later this year. When it does, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and a slew of other incumbents will be waiting.
Feb. 18, 2015, 12:15 PM
- Down AH yesterday due to the light sales guidance provided with its mixed Q4 results, Rackspace (RAX +1.4%) is now back above $50. Helping its cause: Pac Crest has upgraded to Outperform, and at least four firms have hiked their targets.
- Pac Crest cites enterprise and OpenStack momentum as reasons for upgrading: "In the second half of 2014, Rackspace won more large enterprise contracts worth at least $100,000 per month than it had in the prior five quarters combined ... management indicated that OpenStack now makes up more than 50% of its public cloud revenue, which implies OpenStack revenue is at least 15.6% of its total revenue."
- Cowen (target hiked to $75) now considers it likely Rackspace "will announce support for a mega cloud provider in 1H15," thereby boosting its long-term addressable market and lowering future capex needs (in exchange for sharing revenue). It adds sales guidance was in-line after adjusting for forex, and that EBITDA margin guidance was better than expected.
- Meanwhile, new CEO Taylor Rhodes argues the cloud infrastructure (IaaS) market's price war is calming down. "Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ:AMZN) in November, for the first time, didn’t make a price cut move ... AWS is feeling like they are the reference brand leader, that they are strong versus Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), so they don’t need to do it as much. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is cutting price, but who knows how much share they are actually taking."
- He also reiterates Rackspace's assertion that its OpenStack/hybrid cloud offerings are differentiated in the battle for enterprise accounts. "The mainstream market has two problems: They have legacy apps that won’t go [to multi-tenant public clouds] automatically ... the second problem they have is this skills set gap ... There is a need for software and tools development."
- Q4 results, guidance/details
Jan. 30, 2015, 2:24 PM
- Amazon's (AMZN +14.8%) Q4 North American op. margin of 5.4% was its highest in three years, notes SunTrust's Robert Peck, reiterating a Buy and upping his target to $370. Peck is also pleased gross margin rose Q/Q in spite of seasonality, even if one backs out Other (i.e. AWS) revenue. Third-party seller and fulfillment service growth drove the gains, as did improved efficiency.
- Topeka's Victor Anthony likes the fact Prime memberships rose 53% in 2014 (no precise subscriber number has been given, as usual) in spite of Amazon's $20 price hike. Benchmark's Daniel Kurnos observes the bulk of Amazon's Q4 revenue miss was due to its international ops, where the company took an $895M forex hit.
- B. Riley's Scott Tilghman (Neutral) is more cautious. "We aren’t convinced the company has the same leverage opportunity in non-holiday quarters, and this seems to be captured in its 1Q guidance, which assumes bigger FX headwinds and lower Y/Y profit." On SA, Paulo Santos is as bearish as ever, citing (among other things) the top-line miss and a 4% drop in Media revenue.
- During the CC (transcript), CFO Tom Szkutak stated Amazon would begin breaking out AWS revenue for the first time in Q1. He also mentioned (giving encouragement to bulls) Amazon is "putting even more energy and attention on driving what we would call fixed expense and variable expense productivity as well as other efficiency projects."
- Also disclosed: Third-party seller units made up 43% of Q4 unit sales, up from Q3's 42%. Annual paid unit growth slipped to 20% from Q3's 21%.
- Prior Amazon earnings coverage
Jan. 30, 2015, 9:12 AM
Jan. 29, 2015, 5:35 PM
Jan. 29, 2015, 5:05 PM
- Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) expects Q1 revenue of $20.9B-$22.9B (+6%-16% Y/Y), below a $23.05B consensus. Op. income guidance is at -$450M to $50M, and includes $450M in stock compensation and amortization costs.
- Revenue growth fell to 15% in Q4 from 20% in Q3, with North American sales (64% of total) rising 22% and international only 3%. International would've been up 12% if not for forex.
- Media revenue fell 4% Y/Y in Q4 to $6.95B (international -8%, North America +1%). But electronics/general merchandise rose 21% to $20.6B (international +10%, North America +27%).
- Other revenue (dominated by AWS) rose 26% Q/Q and 41% Y/Y to $1.74B. AWS usage was up nearly 90% Y/Y, and active customers now top 1M.
- Contributing to the EPS beat: Gross margin rose to 29.5% from 26.5% a year ago. Also helping: While fulfillment spend rose 17% Y/Y to $3.4B, that's a much slower pace than Q3's 30%. Marketing spend +35% to $1.5B; tech/content +42% to $2.6B; G&A +39% to $442M. Op. margin was 2%, even with a year ago.
- Third-party sellers using Amazon's fulfillment services rose over 65% Y/Y in 2014 (share gains against eBay), and accounted for over 40% of Q4 third-party units.
- Shares have risen above $336 AH.
- Q4 results, PR
- Update (6:32PM): Amazon is now up 14.2% AH.
Jan. 29, 2015, 4:03 PM
- Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN): Q4 EPS of $0.45 beats by $0.28.
- Revenue of $29.33B (+15% Y/Y) misses by $340M.
- Shares +5.39%.
Jan. 22, 2015, 11:44 AM
- Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has surged above $308 after eBay reported its Marketplaces revenue and GMV respectively rose just 1% and 2% Y/Y in Q4, a sign of further share loss to Amazon and other rivals. The Nasdaq is up 0.9%.
- eBay also provided light Q1 and full-year guidance, and announced it's laying off 7% of its workforce. The company blamed its Q4 performance on SEO (Google algorithm) changes, a strong dollar, and a password reset requirement following last spring's security breach.
- Amazon's Q4 report arrives on Jan. 29. Shares jumped yesterday following a Carl Icahn rumor that was quickly shot down by CNBC.
Jan. 21, 2015, 11:29 AM
- Amazon (AMZN +2.7%) is the latest company to spike higher on a rumor Carl Icahn has taken a stake. Shares have pared their gains after CNBC's Scott Wapner reported (citing sources) Icahn has no position in Amazon.
- Twitter popped in the wake of similar rumors a couple weeks ago. Icahn later denied having a stake in the company.
Jan. 13, 2015, 11:49 AM
- In a note titled "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow," Citi's Mark May has upgraded Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to Buy, and upped his target by $29 to $354.
- May: "At current price levels, we estimate Amazon’s retail business is trading at the traditional retailer average of 0.7x out-year GMV (this group includes WMT, TGT and COST), while its AWS/Other business is trading ~5.6x 2015 revenue versus its comp-set average of 6.8x." He adds the retail business is expected to grow 15% this year vs. 4% industry growth, and that AWS/Other is expected to grow 35%.
- Regarding Amazon's bottom line, May observes CSOI margins were ~6% (above that of traditional retailers) around 2011, before the company stepped up AWS and international investments. He also notes gross profit (doesn't account for fulfillment spend, which has been growing rapidly) has outpaced revenue growth each of the last four years. "We see the company expanding EBITDA margin to its highest level in >10 years."
- Citi downgraded Amazon on July 22, when shares were at $360. Today's upgrade, along with a market rally, has propelled shares back above $300.
Dec. 16, 2014, 3:59 PM
- Internet stocks have posted substantial losses after a morning market rally proved short-lived. The Nasdaq is down 1.2%.
- In addition to Google, which has made new 52-week lows, Facebook (FB -3%), Twitter (TWTR -4.7%), Amazon (AMZN -3.5%), and Netflix (NFLX -3.2%) are among the underperforming names. Other decliners: Z -5.5%. TRLA -5.4%. MELI -5.4%. ZNGA -4.9%. ZU -3.2%. ANGI -3.4%.
- The selloff comes even though Goldman upgraded its rating for the sector to Attractive from Neutral today. The firm noted Internet stocks are collectively down 16% over the last 12 months (maybe 18%-19% after today), and that forward EV/EBITDA multiples have contracted significantly.
- Internet/social media ETFs: FDN, PNQI, SOCL
Nov. 28, 2014, 12:27 PM
- IBM estimates U.S. Thanksgiving online sales rose 14% Y/Y, aided by a 29.8% increase in sales from department store sites. Mobile respectively accounted for 32.3% and 52.1% of sales and site traffic, up from 25.8% and 42.6% a year ago. Average order value fell by $7 to $125.
- ChannelAdvisor (ECOM -0.9%) reports its clients' Thanksgiving same-store sales rose 20.1%. Their Amazon (AMZN +1.7%) same-store sales rose 25.9%, but their eBay (EBAY +0.8%) sales fell 3%. Notably, all other marketplaces collectively saw 110% growth - retailers such as Best Buy and Sears have been adding marketplaces to complement their direct sales.
- For reference, ChannelAdvisor reported 32.4% and 4.4% Amazon and eBay October same-store growth, respectively. eBay has been losing marketplace share to Amazon for some time, and was hit this summer by Google algorithm changes and a security breach.
- Early reports for Black Friday sales have generally been positive.
Nov. 14, 2014, 12:48 PM
- Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has rallied to its highest levels since mid-September, and is now up 17% from an Oct. 24 low of $284 (set in the wake of Amazon's Q3 miss and light Q4 guidance). Volume (5.1M shares) is already above a 3-month average of 4.5M.
- The rally comes in the wake of this morning's October retail sales report. Excluding auto, total retail sales rose 0.3% M/M, slightly below a 0.4% consensus. Traditional department stores saw a 0.3% M/M and 3.5% Y/Y drop.
- Earlier this week, ChannelAdvisor (ECOM -0.9%) reported its clients saw 32.7% Y/Y Amazon same-store sales growth in October. That's down from September's 37.9%, but still over 2x U.S. e-commerce growth.
Oct. 24, 2014, 9:15 AM
Amazon.com Inc is an online retailer. The Company sells its products through the website which provides services, such as advertising services and co-branded credit card agreements. It also offers electronic devices like Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets.
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