The Amazon Con: Bulls May Be Crying A River One Of These Days
AMZN is a stock one has to believe in to justify its price, yet current quarter results are improbably bad once again.
MD: Anyone who has used Amazon’s services is likely to be a believer. What the richest person in the world is a big holder in the company, doesn’t that say something about “his” belief in the company?
Its acquisition of Whole Foods is a case of a 200X P/E stock buying a 30X P/E stock, showing the former stock is overvalued.
The entire move from mail order (or e-mail order) delivery to stores was done 90 years ago, but there is no first-mover advantage now for AMZN.
MD: Now that is abject nonsense. Amazon began by making it easier and more efficient for buyers to find sellers and vice versa. It was just a “classified advertising” implementation on the WWW … and it wasn’t the only one. Bezos sees business as three days: day one it develops; day two it rides the wave; day three it dies. Bezos will never leave day one if he can help it.
As competition ramps in e-commerce, with big box chains with the advantage of pick up in store, AMZN may see worsening losses in its core retail division.
MD: Pretty amazing someone can see the big box chains with the advantage. “Pick up in store” is no enticement for me. Save me the trip is my enticement. I think there is a middle ground. Deliver to my nearby convenience store and I’ll pick up there … and enjoy lower shipping cost of course.
Thus, while timing is impossible and there are no certainties, risk-reward for AMZN looks poor, while many other stocks trade normally and are therefore priced for positive returns.
MD: This guy would have thought Standard Oil looked poor … and of course Microsoft and Apple and Oracle (both of which were on the ropes at one time) and Google.
Introduction – rationale for another bearish article
When the facts change, I change my mind (per Keynes). But when the facts get stronger, I carry on with a bullish or bearish thesis, and that’s the case in my humble opinion with Amazon.com’s (AMZN) stock price. This article happens to propound a bearish hypothesis, but as an example of sticking with a bullish hypothesis that is not working, on September 15, 2015, Seeking Alpha published my final Apple (AAPL) article. The stock was going nowhere, hanging around a pitiful $100, yet the title of the article was a straightforward:
In the bullet points, I argued that:
- … facts suggest that the iPhone (and therefore Apple) may in fact be on the verge of a major, historic victory.
- Even if that does not occur, AAPL remains an undervalued stock with strong total return potential for patient investors.”
As it happened, 8 months later, AAPL was down another 10%, and as late as July, it was below $100: but look at it now. So – I was early but (so far) basically correct.
MD: I wouldn’t touch Apple with a long stick. How in the world can they compete with a Linux based system? How can they compete with Open Source? They have to keep innovating … or they are killed by commodity providers.
I look at AMZN that way, in reverse. Timing things like this even to the year is impossible. (And, of course, sometimes I am simply wrong.)
MD: I wonder what he thinks about BitCoin. That who concept is laughably wrong on its face … the the price of a BitCoin continues to go up exponentially.
Next, a few introductory clarifications. First, the “con” referred to in the article is about the stock price, more specifically the resurrection of the 1997-2000 con game that eyeballs, or in AMZN’s case, eyeballs plus sales at near-zero profit margins, mattered to the exclusion of earnings.
MD: If you pour all your earnings into building infrastructure, are you creating a worthless company? If you expense everything instead of capitalizing it, are you creating a worthless company? If you only had to look at earnings, a financial statement would be just one line instead of may pages and many many lines.
I’ll end my comments here. This guy is going nowhere! You can read the rest of the article by going to the link at the top … repeated here.