Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) is slated to report third-quarter earnings after the close on Thursday, Oct. 27, and while investors will be looking to hear how the past 90 days went, all eyes will really be on guidance for the all-important holiday shopping season.
"We believe we're reaching a tipping point in e-commerce, with revenue growth in the U.S. accelerating Y/Y in the first 9 months of 2016," Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali wrote in a note to clients. "This trend is playing into the hands of market leader Amazon, given Prime's growing user base, ever-improving value proposition, and AMZN's growing share of retail searches online (at the expense of search engines)."
Amazon, the undisputed leader in e-commerce domestically, has not rested on its laurels. Recently, it's announced Amazon Music Unlimited, a competitor to Apple (AAPL - Get Report) Music, Spotify and Pandora (P) , as well as a new cloud service between VMware (VMW - Get Report) and its Amazon Web Services unit, a new Fire TV stick, several new series for Prime Video and an expansion of its grocery initiatives, to name a few.
Analysts surveyed by Yahoo! Finance expect Amazon to earn 80 cents a share on $32.69 billion in revenues for the third quarter.
However, much of the benefit Amazon gets is from Prime, its $99-a-year jack-of-all trades service. Prime gives customers free two-day shipping, music, storage and a content catalog that rivals Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) . "Prime's value proposition continues to increase as a result of expanding same/next-day delivery footprint, improving content (video, music and books) and other add-on benefits," Squali wrote in a note to clients.
Amazon has never publicly said how many Prime users it has, but most analysts estimate it has somewhere around 60 million, including 40 million or so domestically.
There's also Amazon's cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services, which has become the leader in the industry.
Previewing Amazon's third-quarter results, Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju highlighted the strength in Amazon's cloud computing unit, which could offer margin expansion, despite fierce price wars in the area. "Barring any sharp and sustained decreases in price, we submit that even as we model aggressive SG&A cash expense growth assumptions (add incremental $1.4b-$1.6b over the next five years vs historical ramp of $600mm-$1b), the combination of moderating CapEx and D&A expense growth due to decelerating usage should ultimately lead to 40%+ long term operating margin," the analyst wrote in a note to clients.
Ju now believes AWS is worth $200 billion, with Amazon's total market cap at $380 billion.Amazon is continuing to focus on its retail and cloud businesses, while expanding into seemingly every area, from music to groceries to artificial intelligence. These three ETFs may benefit if investors like Amazon's third-quarter results.
VanEck Vectors Retail ETF
Credit Suisse's Ju, who rates Amazon outperform with a $1,050 price target, believes that AWS will account for 40% of Amazon's free cash flow as the amount of money needed to run the unit starts to level off.
Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund
The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY - Get Report) , which has $9.16 billion in assets under management, has Amazon comprise 13.99% of its portfolio and has an expense ratio of 0.15%.
Cantor Fitzgerald's Squali, who rates Amazon a buy with a $1,000 price target, expects 26% growth in the third-quarter, but a slight acceleration for the fourth-quarter, Amazon's most important.
"While the stock does not look cheap on 2017 ests, we believe investors need to take a longer- term view - i.e., as long as AMZN continues to gain share in this $10T+ market and shows steady margin improvements, the stock should continue to grind higher," Squali wrote to clients.
iShares U.S. Consumer Services ETF
JMP analyst Ronald Josey is positive on the launch of Amazon Music Unlimited, seeing it as a third benefit for Prime, behind shipping and movies/TV shows. "With a more competitive offering for music, we believe Music Unlimited is likely to be the #3 reason users join Prime, following free shipping and Prime Video," Josey penned in a note to clients.
For all of 2016, Josey expects Amazon to report $136.6 billion in revenue, earning $12.06 a share.