By Tomi Kilgore
Shares of Amazon.com Inc. slumped toward their longest weekly losing streak in 14 years on Friday, amid increasing concerns over a slowdown in consumer spending and the impact of rising inflation.
Those concerns prompted Citigroup (NYS:C) to remove Amazon from its ”Focus List.”
The stock (NAS:AMZN) dropped 1.9% in afternoon trading, reversing an intraday gain of as much as 2.4% earlier in the session.
With the stock down 6.9% for the week, it was headed for an eighth-straight weekly decline. That would be the longest weekly losing streak since the 10-week stretch through the week ended March 7, 2008.
The stock has been hit hard by growing investor concerns over retailer earnings, due to rising inflation and slowing demand, coupled with increasing freight and delivery costs. Those concerns were exacerbated this week by hugely disappointing earnings reports from Amazon rivals Walmart Inc. (NYS:WMT) and Target Corp . (NYS:TGT)
Amazon’s stock has plunged 36.1% during its currently weekly loss streak, the worst 8-week performance since it tumbled 36.3% during the period ending Nov. 28, 2008.
Citigroup analyst Ronald Josey said that while he believes Amazon can gain greater retail market share in the current challenged macro environment, particularly as the mega sales event Prime Day in July approaches, he has to recognize that the company will be hurt by weaker consumer demand and higher costs.
Josey reiterated his buy rating and $4,100 price target on Amazon’s stock, which implies a nearly doubling (up 95%) from current levels, and said it remained a “top-pick across the internet sector.” However, he removed the stock from Citi’s North America Focus List, citing macro-economic uncertainty and a lack of near-term catalysts.
“To be clear, should consumer demand decelerate meaningfully due to macro, we believe Amazon is likely to be hurt,” Josey wrote in a note to clients. “But we also believe Amazon can gain — and hold on to — greater wallet share during this period, given its focus on convenience, and we note faster overall delivery times.”
Amazon’s stock has tanked 36.9% year to date, while the SPDR Consumer Discretionary Select Sector exchange-traded fund (PSE:XLY) has slid 33.0% and the S&P 500 index (S&P:SPX) has shed 19.8%.