Seeking Alpha, Inc. (AMZN)

  • Wed, Mar. 11, 10:29 PM
    • About two in five households now subscribe to some kind of video streaming, according to Nielsen, shedding some light on an area that the streaming companies haven't really been illuminating.
    • Aside from subscriber numbers that the companies report, the new research is focused on penetration. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) was top-ranked, with 36% of households subscribing in November.
    • Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN) was next (13% of households), followed by Hulu Plus (CMCSA, FOXA, DIS) with 6.5%.
    • Streaming-subscriber households are spending more screen time than nonsubscribers: 2 hours, 45 minutes a day, vs. 1:57.
    • Reactions are mixed as to what that means for cord-cutting: "People who like TV, love TV," says Pivotal Research's Brian Wieser, arguing that Netflix subscribers aren't necessarily abandoning pay TV.
    • While a third of households have just one service, only 10% have two and just 2.6% subscribe to three; those numbers correlate heavily with income.
    • Time-shifting, however, is way up, especially among younger audiences. Live watching is down among adults to 4 hours, 51 minutes a day, down 13 minutes from the prior year.
    | Wed, Mar. 11, 10:29 PM | 16 Comments
  • Tue, Mar. 10, 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.
    | Tue, Mar. 10, 12:51 PM | 3 Comments
  • Mon, Mar. 9, 9:20 AM
    • "Critically, we think that the stock currently trades at 70x [forward] Adjusted [free cash flow], when adjusting for capital leases vs 40% growth," writes SunTrust's Bob Peck, downgrading Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to Neutral. "Hence, we think the near term upside has been captured."
    • Peck observes Amazon is up 25% since its market-pleasing Q4 report, and has topped his $370 target along the way. He remains positive on the e-commerce giant's long-term prospects, and also likes its plans to begin breaking out AWS revenue in Q1.
    • AMZN -0.5% premarket. SunTrust upgraded Amazon to Buy back in April 2012, when shares were only at $227. In January, Peck praised Amazon's Q4 margin gains.
    | Mon, Mar. 9, 9:20 AM | 8 Comments
  • Fri, Mar. 6, 11:31 AM
    • In a partnership between the world's two biggest e-commerce firms, Amazon (AMZN -1.2%) has opened a store on Alibaba's (BABA -1.4%) massive Tmall site. The store's current offerings include food, toys, shoes, and kitchenware.
    • The move follows the 2014 launch of a Kindle store on Tmall, and comes in spite of the fact Amazon has invested heavily in creating a Chinese online retail presence via The company hasn't broken out specific revenue or GMV figures.
    • China's iResearch Consulting estimates Tmall had a 57.3% share of China's B2C (i.e. large-merchant) e-commerce market in Q2 2014, and just a 1.5% share. (JD -0.2%), which has been outgrowing Alibaba in recent quarters with the help of its internal fulfillment/logistics investments, had an estimated 21.2% share.
    • Alibaba's Tmall GMV rose 60% Y/Y in calendar Q4 to $47B. Its Taobao site (dominates the market for small-merchant transactions) saw GMV rise 43% to $80B. The company has big plans to take on Amazon and others internationally, but for now, its foreign sales skew heavily towards wholesale buyers.
    • Separately, in another strategy shift, Amazon has announced it's bringing four games developed by its Amazon Game Studios unit to iOS. The games have thus far only been available on Amazon's hardware, severely limiting their addressable market. No word on whether non-Amazon Android hardware will eventually be supported.
    | Fri, Mar. 6, 11:31 AM | 18 Comments
  • Fri, Mar. 6, 6:48 AM
    • While HBO (NYSE:TWX) is in high-profile talks with Apple to launch its streaming HBO Now service on Apple TV, other providers will be joining in at some point or even at launch day yet, including Google and TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) among others.
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be first to agree to the launch, Bloomberg notes, because its negotiation is simpler than that with HBO's longtime pay TV partners.
    • Cox Communications and Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) are also linked to discussions, though traditional cable/satellite providers are a tougher sell, accustomed as they are to the traditional arrangement (and income stream).
    • It's safe to assume all the partners marketing HBO's current HBO Go offering are likely to engage in some level of talks with TWX to offer HBO Now -- including Roku, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox, Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation, and (NASDAQ:AMZN).
    • Cable repercussions? Several pay TV operators had started lowering their price for HBO via promotions, a possible move to brace for HBO Now's direct launch: Comcast lowered its monthly HBO rate from $18.95 to $15, or $10 if you order online. Verizon's offering HBO for $9.99/month for first 12; Time Warner Cable is offering $9.99/month for online orders; Cox is offering $10/month for the first six.
    • As for HBO Go -- the current service that allows mobile viewing for authenticated existing HBO customers -- it appears it will continue to exist as is for now, despite the likelihood of product confusion.
    • HBO's targeting 10M broadband subscribers who don't have cable or satellite -- at this $15 price point, it makes a huge competitive interface with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
    | Fri, Mar. 6, 6:48 AM | 14 Comments
  • Wed, Mar. 4, 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.
    | Wed, Mar. 4, 1:58 PM | 20 Comments
  • Wed, Mar. 4, 11:26 AM
    • Target (TGT +0.1%) trades higher as investors digest the information the company unveiled at its investor meeting late yesterday.
    • Though the headline items were the thousands of job cuts announced and FY16 EPS guidance, it's Target's shift in philosophy which may emerge as the biggest pullaway for investors.
    • "We recognize that we are talking about a significant cultural change, but it's driven by what the consumers want and expect from Target," said CEO Brian Cornell at the event.
    • Just 7 weeks after announcing a full exit from Canada, Target now calls digital its top priority in the U.S.
    • Janney Capital Markets thinks the +40% growth target for Target's digital business is a reach.
    • Piper Jaffray boosted its price target on TGT to $86.
    • Morgan Stanley sticks with a Positive stance on the company.
    • Some analysts think Target's digital scale is formidable enough to put some pricing pressure on Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS), and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).
    | Wed, Mar. 4, 11:26 AM | 9 Comments
  • Tue, Mar. 3, 2:23 AM
    • Less than three months after the U.S. and Cuba agreed to restore diplomatic relations, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) appears to be laying the groundwork to ship to the country.
    • A "ship to Cuba" button was seen on Amazon's website yesterday by Reuters correspondents in Havana.
    • While the option did not work, logistics experts say the appearance of the selection suggested the company was working on it.
    | Tue, Mar. 3, 2:23 AM | 4 Comments
  • Wed, Feb. 18, 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
    | Wed, Feb. 18, 12:15 PM | 9 Comments
  • Mon, Feb. 16, 2:47 AM
    • The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed rules for commercial drone flights that would lift some restrictions but would still bar activities such as the delivery of packages and inspection of pipelines and crops.
    • The guidelines would require unmanned aircraft pilots to obtain special pilot certificates, fly only during the day and below 500 feet. Pilots must also remain in the line of sight of their radio-control drone, which could limit commercial inspections and ground Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) "Prime Air" program.
    • The draft rules still must undergo public comment and revision before becoming final.
    • Commercial drone-related stocks: AMBA, DPZ, HON, INVN, IXYS, GPRO, TRMB
    | Mon, Feb. 16, 2:47 AM | 47 Comments
  • Wed, Feb. 11, 7:10 PM
    • A Reuters/Ipsos survey of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime users found 96% stating they're happy with the 2-day shipping/streaming service. The figure comes about a year after Amazon hiked Prime's annual fee by $20 to $99.
    • At the same time, 10% of 1,700 polled respondents who chose Amazon's 2-day shipping said items ordered between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 didn't arrive on the expected day. For its part, Amazon says its internal data "shows significantly better results."
    • Amazon mentioned in its Q4 report Prime subscribers rose 53% in 2014 (50% in the U.S.) in spite of the price hike. With the company declining to provide a total subscriber figure, RBC estimated in September Amazon has 30M-40M Prime subs in the U.S., and 40M-50M globally.
    • Amazon has added to its roster of local/regional shipping partners as it tries to keep up with order growth. The company's Q4 EPS beat was partly the result of a major slowdown in fulfillment spending growth (+17% Y/Y in Q4 vs. +30% in Q3).
    | Wed, Feb. 11, 7:10 PM | 26 Comments
  • Tue, Feb. 3, 2:24 AM
    • A new Bloomberg report suggests that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has discussed acquiring some RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) locations, joining other potential bidders, including Sprint (NYSE:S) and investment group Brookstone.
    • Amazon would use the stores as showcases for its hardware, as well as potential pickup and drop-off centers for online customers.
    • The NYSE suspended trading of RadioShack's shares yesterday, after it failed to have an average market value of at least $50M for 30 straight days.
    | Tue, Feb. 3, 2:24 AM | 15 Comments
  • Fri, Jan. 30, 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
    | Fri, Jan. 30, 2:24 PM | 42 Comments
  • Fri, Jan. 30, 9:12 AM
    | Fri, Jan. 30, 9:12 AM | 4 Comments
  • Thu, Jan. 29, 5:35 PM
    | Thu, Jan. 29, 5:35 PM | 7 Comments
  • Thu, Jan. 29, 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.
    | Thu, Jan. 29, 5:05 PM | 33 Comments
AMZN vs. ETF Alternatives
Company Description 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 offerselectronic devices like Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets.
Sector: Technology
Country: United States