Wednesday morning, a day after the e-tailer
announced job cuts amounting to 15% of its work force and posted fourth-quarter earnings that barely inched past analysts' expectations.
Yet investors seemed confident this morning, as Amazon.com's shares got a boost from Tuesday's closing price of $18.94. They were lately trading at $19.19 in pre-open
W.R. Hambrecht analyst Kristine Koerber slashed her rating on Amazon.com to neutral from buy, based on "disappointing" 2001 guidance from the company. Yesterday, Amazon.com said it expects 2001 revenue of $3.3 billion to $3.5 billion, down about $500 million to $700 million from its previous guidance, with an operating loss of 4% to 6% of sales for the year.
Koerber said she is maintaining her estimate that Amazon.com will lose 86 cents a share in 2001. Amazon.com has not issued earnings guidance, but said it hopes to be profitable on a pro forma basis by the fourth quarter of 2001.
In her report, Koerber said, "we have turned cautious until we get more favorable data points," and that she sees its shares "in a tight trading range for at least the first half of the year." Longer term, "our model for beyond 2001 assumes comparable revenue growth and then further slowing after 2005."
Koerber also cut her 2001 revenue estimate for the company to $3.41 billion from $4.1 billion, and said the company's "decelerating revenue growth may push back long-term profitability." Amazon yesterday projected 2001 revenue of $3.31 billion to $3.59 billion, down about 20% to 30% from 2000.
Koerber also said she was "concerned with the deceleration of revenue growth and employee layoffs," and believed they could "disrupt near-term business."