WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (TheStreet) -- There Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report goes again. If generality is the enemy of art, it is also the enemy of stock prognostication, and Amazon is the General of Generalities.
Here's what Amazon always does: the company says a product is selling like hot cakes or ten times better than last year. But it gives no specifics. Ten times better than what? Amazon rarely says.
That's just what happened Monday when Amazon trumpeted Kindle sales. Worse, the business media, to their everlasting discredit, just played along. Granted: every instinct tells me that the Kindle--especially since the introduction of the Fire, Amazon's lower-cost answer to
iPad is selling well. Still: there is the matter of magnitude.
Amazon said that Kindle Black Friday sales were "the best ever." First off, I should hope so. Kindles have only been around for a few years. If growth has already stalled--well, words fail me. Moreover, the Kindle Fire was only recently introduced. It stands to reason that it would help Amazon achieve its "best ever" Black Friday.
But how good was it? Amazon tells us...in its characteristically maddening way. Customers, they said, purchased four times as many Kindles this Black Friday than last. But four times more than what? Amazon didn't say, which renders the information nearly useless. Worse, Reuters does not even mention that Amazon didn't deign to mention the baseline number.
does, but only in passing. Traders deserve--and need--better.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.
Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.
For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
Fuchs appreciates your feedback;
to send him an email.