Pacific Crest Securities analyzed Amazon’s latest earnings in a report called “As Good As It Gets (For Now),” and found that increased competition in online retail and cloud computing could blunt Amazon’s momentum in both areas. Walmart, with its purchase of Jet.com and possibly Bonobos, is quickly becoming a formidable retail competitor.
Amazon Web Services has supercharged Amazon’s bottom line in recent years, posting big numbers and helping the company turn large quarterly profits. While Pacific Crest sees Amazon retaining its cloud lead for the next several years, revenue growth and operating profits dropped slightly on a year-over-year basis compared to the previous quarter, a trend that could continue throughout the year, according to the report. And a lot of that has to do with competition.
“The relative size and scope of AWS’ global footprint was a differentiating factor in 2015 and 2016,” according to the note. “However, heavy investments from Microsoft Azure last year and heavy investments planned by Google Cloud this year mean that AWS’ advantage in global footprint is beginning to narrow. Feedback from cloud industry leaders and partners suggest that Microsoft Azure, in particular, is starting to gain some momentum within large enterprises and government agencies that are considering decommissioning entire data centers and moving more aggressively to public cloud platforms.”
As a result, Pacific Crest downgraded Amazon stock because it doesn’t see a lot of near term growth potential and the stock is sitting at a pretty high entry price for investors.
Those in the past who have believed in Amazon have been richly rewarded.
— Charlie Bilello (@charliebilello) April 28, 2017
The last few years have been particularly fruitful for investors.
Pacific Crest laid out both a bull and bear scenario for Amazon’s stock in the near future. Under the more rosy analysis, Amazon stock could exceed $1,100 per share. That happens if the company’s big bet in India pays off and the online retail giant makes headway in China and other international markets. This scenario also assumes success coming from the company’s increased emphasis on grocery and apparel.
Should this scenario come to fruition, Pacific Crest sees AWS contributing approximately 45 percent of Amazon’s stock value.
Under the bearish path, which would see Amazon stock drop to $610, AWS starts to become less of a cash cow as competition catches up. In addition, Amazon wouldn’t see the kind of return it was hoping for from international investments under this scenario.