Dividend.com: Amazon's Breakout Season

The online retailer announced its best holiday season ever.
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MasterCard Data Shows Soft Holiday Shopping Results

MasterCard

(MA) - Get Report

just announced that its retail data service of MasterCard Advisors, shows this holiday season was one of the weakest in decades.

The company points to the current economic slowdown, rising layoffs and tighter credit for one of the most challenging holiday seasons its ever seen. The figures that were tracked showed a 2% drop in November sales and a 4% drop from Dec. 1 through Dec. 24.

We had removed shares of MasterCard on Sept. 29, when the stock traded at $185.07. The company has a low dividend yield of .42%, based on last night's closing stock price of $142.23. We like to watch shares very closely to give us a sense of retail spending, and we believe any sign of a bottom will likely show up with shares lifting accordingly. The stock has technical support in the $114 to $121 price area. If that fails to hold, the $95 to $96 level is a possibility. If shares can consolidate and begin to move higher, overhead resistance would come in the $170 to $174 area.

MasterCard is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars.

New York Times Shares Slip on Red Sox Stake Sale Rumors

Shares of

New York Times

(NYT) - Get Report

are down today, after a rumor the company is looking to unload its 17.5% stake in the holding company for the Boston Red Sox and New England Sports Network.

The company acquired the stake in 2002. The potential value has been estimated at $166 million and could be worth at least $200 million in a sale.

We had removed shares from our "Recommended" list on July 9, when shares traded at $14.01. We had previously included the shares on our list when we started coverage in early June, when the stock was at $16.82. The company recently cut its dividend and now has a 4% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $6. It will be interesting to see if the company can get top dollar for its stake, in this current economic environment. The question we always ask in a case like this is why doesn't someone with a larger stake make a deal for this. Our guess is that there has likely already been talks, but the initial feedback has been lukewarm.

New York Times is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.7 out of 5 stars.

Allergan Wins FDA Approval

Allergan

(AGN) - Get Report

announced it has won approval for its eyelash treatment.

Management said the treatment provides a significant and previously unmet need in the medical aesthetic marketplace. The drug application increases the growth of eyelashes, making them longer, thicker and darker. Not to make light of the medical applications, we get the feeling that the Botox crowd will be celebrating yet another cosmetic victory.

We have avoided shares of Allergan since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $57.42. The company has a dividend yield of .82%, based on last night's closing stock price of $36.44. The company has major technical support in the $27 price area. If the shares can consolidate here and begin to move up, the overhead resistance comes in the $41 to $45 price levels. We would look at some of the pharma plays like

Bristol-Myers

(BMY) - Get Report

and

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

instead.

Allergan is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars.

Amazon Knocks it Out of the Park

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

just announced that the 2008 holiday season was the online retailer's best ever.

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The company reported it sold more than 6.3 million items worldwide on its peak day, Dec. 15, or the equivalent of "a record-breaking 72.9 items per second". The company is clearly dominating the retail side of the internet, and will likely continue to gain market share, as weaker "brick and mortar" competitors continue to struggle.

The leading internet retailer started the year at the $92 level, but the stock continued to drift a bit lower until September, at which point the stock began to drop toward its eventual 52-week low of $35. The company has bounced up 50% from the lows so far. The company does have overhead resistance in the $62 to $66 area. On the downside, the company has long-term support of $26 that must hold if the company is to avoid facing single digits again.

Amazon.com does not currently pay a dividend.

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At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.