Shares of Amazon.com, Inc (AMZN) have been on fire, climbing more than 36% this year. However, could that run be over within the next 12 months?
Analysts at FinTrust Investment have initiated the stock with a sell rating and $640 price target, implying more than 36% downside. Amazon stock last traded at these levels in early 2016.
It's perhaps a shocking rating and price target for a company that has not only dominated the stock market, but has also dominated retail. Traditional retailers like Macy's (M) , Kohl's (KSS) and J.C. Penney (JCP) have felt immense pressure as e-commerce trends continue to gain momentum. And while there's other competitors in the online space, none stack up to Amazon.
The company has built an impenetrable wall in the e-commerce space, but its cloud business has become a force to be reckoned with as well. Big tech companies like Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet (GOOGL) have taken notice of Amazon's presence, which continues to grow with seemingly limitless boundaries. For as much as Amazon is a powerhouse in the cloud business, this is the same company that agreed to shell out more than $13 billion for Whole Foods Markets (WFM) .
On Monday, Blue Apron (APRN) received buy ratings from Goldman Sachs, Stifel and RBC with price targets ranging from $10 to $11. At a minimum, that implies more than 50% upside to the stock, should it return to its $10 IPO price. But the fear of Amazon has already pressured the stock, which went public less than a month ago. Of course, Amazon's entrance into the meal kit business along with its acquisition of Whole Foods is reason for fear.
All of this is to say, do we really believe Amazon will fall? We can't predict if FinTrust will be right, but it's not as insane as it sounds -- even though the analyst is perhaps taking a bold stand before Amazon reports earnings on Thursday.
Despite how powerful Amazon seems to be and how crazy of a call this looks on the surface, just remember that Amazon stock can be volatile. On December 31 2015, shares closed at $675. Just five weeks later on February 5, shares were sitting at $500, a decline of more than 25%. That doesn't count the intraday moves below $500 either.
For its part, investors aren't taking the note too seriously -- at least when it comes to the stock price. Amazon shares are up 0.52% to $1031 in early Monday trading.
It doesn't need to be a company-specific issue that trips up Amazon. A market-wide hiccup can also take it down, at least temporarily. For the rest of the analyst community, not all are bearish. Wedbush's Michael Pachter reiterated his outperform rating and $1,250 price target, expecting an beat on earnings Thursday and robust revenue growth.
Keybanc also had some positive commentary as well, reasoning that a tentative consumer and strong online competition won't hurt Amazon.
Amazon shares rose 0.1% to $1,040.12 by Tuesday's close.
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