Will Amazon.com (AMZN) Stock be Affected by Europe Tax Practices Change?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon.com (AMZN) has begun booking revenue from its retail sales in individual European countries, rather than funnel all sales through Luxembourg, a low tax country, as scrutiny of corporate tax practices intensifies in Europe, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The change took effect on May 1 and so far Amazon's branches have been booking revenue in the U.K, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

The online marketplace's change could result in a significant increase in its European tax bill, The Journal said, adding that it could also put pressure on other companies to make the same alterations to their European tax practices.

The EU is investigating a number of tax saving structures by multinational corporations and is even investigating tax deals between companies and individual EU countries, The Journal said, noting that Apple (AAPL) and Starbucks (SBUX) are also facing probes.

Additionally, Amazon.com may be giving Etsy (ETSY), an online marketplace for handmade items, some new competition. Several reports suggest Amazon.com is testing the waters by reaching out to sellers on Etsy.

The company is directing them to an online form which thanks them for their interest in "Handmade at Amazon." The seller is asked to fill out the form and give information about their business and what they sell.

Amazon offers to give sellers "exclusive updates" while they "set up shop."

Shares of Amazon.com are lower by 0.33% to $426.20 in pre-market trading on Tuesday morning.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates AMAZON.COM INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed-some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, robust revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, AMZN's share price has jumped by 41.51%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Although AMZN had significant growth over the past year, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock at the current time.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 19.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.1%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to -$1,499.00 million or 40.08% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, AMAZON.COM INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 40.86%.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Internet & Catalog Retail industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 152.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $108.00 million to -$57.00 million.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, AMAZON.COM INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AMZN Ratings Report

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