AMZN

Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) – Buy

I initiated a new position last week in Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) at $1,657.24. It is our 8th largest position at this time.

Reason for current opportunity

The share price for Amazon has been under pressure because of a variety of threats:

  • Inability to make significant profits from the amazon.com retail business.
  • Political/social pressure from their growing size and influence on the retail industry.
  • Slowing growth in revenue.
  • International expansion difficulties.
  • Amazon Web Services competition from well capitalized competitors: Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG).

Why Amazon?

Amazon has been on my watch list for a while as I currently sell various products on Amazon and use their advertising system to advertise products. I shop there, but not nearly as much as I used to. For the last year or so, I moved more of my shopping to Walmart (WMT) due to lower prices mainly. I usually buy from Amazon if I cannot find the product at Walmart.com. Although it seems that many that shop at Amazon don’t necessary care about the lowest price and it has been shown to be a favorite among Generation Z and Millennials.

While Amazon has been reluctant to monetize Amazon.com due to aggressive plans to acquire market share, they have been able to grow and monetize Amazon Web Services, which produces the majority of their profits.

What I’m most excited about is their ability to collect ad revenue from vendors that promote their products on Amazon.com. This is how Facebook and Google make most of their revenue and by relying more upon 3rd party sellers, Amazon doesn’t need to worry about cost of goods. They make money no matter what, more like Ebay’s (EBAY) business model.

It seems that over time many consumers are skipping searching on Google and going right to Amazon.com first to do product research and on the flip side, many brands are putting more effort on selling on Amazon over selling directly on their own websites. Some will create a website just to direct customers to make the purchase on Amazon.com. It’s seems that over time, more brands could push more of the sales to a few marketplaces such as Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Ebay.com along with some niche players such as Etsy.com making less of need for many of the other retailers currently out there. While I don’t believe Amazon will end up with all retail, I do think that over time, we will end up with a lot less retailers and few large marketplaces where most online sales and maybe bricks and mortar business is done. The struggles of Bon Ton, Sears, Kmart, Circuit City, Toys ‘R’ Us to name a few show this is the case.

Valuation

Amazon currently trades at a:

  • 59.2 forward PE
  • Price/Book of 20.5
  • PEG of 1
  • PEG payback in years is 6.7
  • Dividend yield is 0

The forward PE and Price/Book are higher than I like and I usually prefer companies that pay a dividend. However, they have a huge earning potential and I think that this will grow significantly at some point. They could keep their margins on retail low, but make significant amounts from ad revenue like Facebook and Google do. The current PEG of 1 is very attractive to me and is why I see the stock is a bargain at this time.

I believe the current stock price drop represents a great opportunity for those not currently invested or with a small position in AMZN. If the price should continue to drop, I will most likely add to this initial position.

I Love Catching Falling Knives

falling-knife

FALLING KNIFE DEFINITION: A slang phrase for a security or industry in which the current price or value has dropped significantly in a short period of time. A falling knife security can rebound, or it can lose all of its value, such as in the case of company bankruptcy where equity shares become worthless. A falling knife situation can occur because of actual business results (such as a big drop in net earnings) or because of increasingly negative investor sentiment.  Source: Investopedia

I do like the falling knives! I usually find the best opportunities in the companies who’s stocks fall hard, some deserve it, but sometimes is unwarranted panic selling. I got many of my current holdings this way. I bought the bulk of my Merchant’s during the last economic crash when all banks were being sold no matter how safe/dull their business practice was. Cisco (CSCO), Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR), GE (GE) Google (GOOG), eBay (EBAY), Apple (AAPL)… I bought my stakes in all of these when people were overly pessimistic on them.  

Why Catch Falling Knives?

Often, you will have companies have some bad news, maybe an earning or sales miss, an unexpected one time expense… temporary problems even though the company’s business is sound, the stock will drop hard. This makes for a great opportunity.

Some of the ones I’m looking to buy now are Staples (SPLS), Merchant’s Bank (MBVT), 3D Systems (DDD), Stratasys (SSYS), Amazon (AMZN), AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), Sierra Wireless (SWIR) – either for the fact that they have fallen a bit, but still have sound fundamentals based on the current price or have decent dividends which help keep a floor on further downward pressure with great potential for upside.

But generally right now I’m putting together a nice list of potential ideas while keeping a wait and see attitude, waiting for the right time to strike.

MBVT is one that I’ve consistently held a core position while trading around it. I like it at $28.50 or less usually. At the last stockholder’s meeting (which I still need to post my write up on) they mentioned they are in the process of completely upgrading their computer system which will increase efficiency, customer service and lower overall cost. However, the whole cost of this upgrade is expensed this year so it could scare people (which it looks like is already happening) that just look at the numbers… could create a nice opportunity there.