Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN -1.97% has already had its most profitable year. But with Prime Day 2020 taking place in October and the holiday shopping season still to be accounted for, the e-commerce giant will only add to the tally.
Amazon is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday after the closing bell, and analysts are bullish about the numbers.
“Strong e-commerce demand through the holiday season coupled with the addition of Prime Day in the quarter should support robust revenue growth,” wrote Stifel analysts led by Scott Devitt.
Analysts also forecast 29% growth in AWS revenue.
“Amazon is one of the primary beneficiaries of COVID given accelerated e-commerce sales growth and Prime membership adoption, as well as the digital transformation that will accelerate cloud services adoption, which we expect to see over a longer timeframe,” Stifel said.
Stifel rates Amazon stock buy with a $3,600 price target.
After third-quarter profit tripled to $6.3 billion, or $12.37 a share, Amazon has already had its most profitable year.
Even with large investments in areas like fulfillment to keep up with demand, its business is still booming. Capital investments for the first nine months of 2020 nearly reached $30 billion, Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, said on the third-quarter earnings call.
COVID-related costs exceeded $7.5 billion in the first three quarters of the year, and are expected to total $4 billion in the fourth quarter.
“The resurgence of the pandemic into the winter coupled with additional stimulus is likely to support strong e-commerce demand in 1H:21,” Stifel said.
“As the leader in two large and rapidly growing sectors (e-commerce and cloud), with an emerging high margin marketing business, Amazon remains well positioned in a recovery scenario given cloud services, marketing services and certain e-commerce categories/geographies are still in the early phases of development.”
Wedbush analysts say Amazon’s outlook for the fourth-quarter was too conservative. Amazon guided for sales between $112 billion and $121 billion in the fourth quarter, up between 28% and 38% year-over-year. Operating income is expected to be between $1.0 billion and $4.5 billion, up from $3.9 billion in 2019.
“We acknowledge that cleaning, safety and social distancing protocols cost Amazon billions of dollars in lost efficiency but note that the company’s operating income guidance is lower than its guidance for Q3, despite an expected $6.4 billion of higher sequential gross profit,” analysts led by Michael Pachter wrote.
“While we believe Amazon’s guidance is sincere, we think it is overly conservative, and we cannot conceive that the company will spend all of its incremental gross profits on fulfillment, marketing, and COVID-related expenses.”
Wedbush rates Amazon stock outperform with a $3,900 price target.