Anyone who stayed up last night to watch the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in five overtimes is free to go. The rest of you must stay in front of your computers and see how this day plays out.
employment report that our own
contended didn't tell investors anything new, the market decided to focus on the negatives and sell off early in the session, but has been rebounding lately.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index was up 11.77, or 1.32%, at 901.34 in recent trading. The
was up 72.64, or 1.95%, at 3792.88 after trading as low as 3694.28. With no conclusive evidence about whether the employment report changes anything with respect to the
, expect the back-and-forth trade to persist.
initiated coverage of a number of e-commerce stocks, giving
received outperform ratings; and
was saddled with a neutral rating. Lehman has not done underwriting for any of the companies.
Lehman's analysts placed an 80 price target on Amazon, writing that the recent 56% pullback from its high represented "a compelling opportunity to buy what will become a world-class retailer." Amazon was up 13/16, or 1.5%, at 55 7/8.
Analysts wrote that as a multiple of sales, Amazon stock was trading at 6.7 times its 2000 estimate of $2.8 billion, and 4.8 times its 2001 estimate of $3.9 billion. In terms of price-to-earnings, Amazon is trading at 23.9 times expected 2005 EPS of $2.31. They contend it is trading at the lowest multiples of a small group of "best-in-class" Internet companies, including eBay and America Online. "When compared to these companies, Amazon's stock looks more attractive, reflecting the lower-margin nature of its retail business model," they wrote.
"We are convinced that the company has a solid strategy, the ability to execute against it, and has obtained critical mass. Through building its brand, customer base, profitability, capital efficiency, and technological capabilities, Amazon has built a sustainable competitive advantage that we believe it will continue to leverage in different product and service categories to grow quickly and make money, making it a very compelling investment."
Lehman initiated coverage of eBay with a 200 price target. It was down 1/2, or 0.4%, at 136 7/16. Analysts took on the prospect of eBay merging with another company, writing that "we question eBay's future as an independent company. While its recent talks with
have ended, there may be other potential buyers (i.e., AOL). We believe that if eBay's business slows, the company will likely revisit the option of selling or merging, providing downside support for investors.
Lehman's analysts spoke glowingly about priceline.com's business model and its ability to make progress toward profitability. However, they noted, "priceline faces competitive threats in its core airline business from online competitors such as
, as well as the airlines themselves. We believe that for the company to justify and grow its $9.5 billion market value, it must prove that it can expand into big new businesses and demonstrate the power of its 'trading platform' across multiple categories."
Lehman slapped a 75 price target on priceline. They noted that with only 13% of the shares floating, or 22 million, "the lack of liquidity will likely contribute to a volatile (high risk) stock." priceline was down 9/16, or 1.0%, at 57 3/8.
Regarding eToys, analysts wrote that the neutral rating "reflects our belief that the company, like many other pure-play e-tailers, is cash constrained while still incurring heavy losses." They added that in the months ahead, "eToys will have to overcome challenges in order execution, at the same time as investing in new category and international expansion, and defending itself from increased competition -- not a simple task. We do not believe that the company's financial position will allow it to overcome these challenges." eToys was up 1/16, or 0.9%, at 7 1/16.
Finally, Lehman analysts wrote that drugstore.com was the leader in the online drugstore space, noting that due to the high average order size and the repeat nature of prescription purchases, they believed the lifetime value of prescription customers "has the potential to be the highest that we have seen."
However, they noted that drugstore.com "has not been able to build its business as quickly as we had hoped because of poor economics of nonprescription ("front-end") products, lack of scale, and the higher than anticipated cost of building its brand." Their outperform rating reflected its leadership and its recent stock price decline, and "we are looking for evidence that drugstore.com can achieve a large and stable number of prescription customers as a catalyst for upgrading the stock." drugstore.com was up 3/8, or 4.4%, at 9.