Amazon (AMZN) shows no signs of slowing down. The stock is up 40% year to date and investors are expecting a blowout quarter when it reports results after the close tonight.
Will the online behemoth deliver?
Wall Street is modeling earnings of $1.39 per share on $37.17 billion in revenue for the second quarter. Total revenue is forecasted to increase 22% year over year. North American revenue is projected at $21.7 billion, up 23%, and international revenue at $11.4 billion up 23% ex-currency.
Analysts are looking for Amazon's Web Services (AWS) revenue to narrow 200 basis points sequentially to 41%. AWS has been slowing due to stiff competition from Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet/Google's (GOOGL) cloud offering.
Earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) are estimated to be $4.6 billion. EBITDA margins are expanding and could be 50 to 65 basis points higher than last year. Gross margin is expected to widen 120 to 130 basis points over last year (or to 38.2%), mostly driven by Amazon's third-party (3P) seller business.
Two weeks ago, Amazon said its third annual Prime Day was "the biggest global shopping event in Amazon's history." Prime Day was offered in 13 countries, up from 10 last year. Amazon said total orders were 60% larger than last year and the number of shoppers increased more than 50% this year. While Prime Day is exciting, it could pressure margins somewhat because of heavy discounting and higher expenses.
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Amazon also continues to spend heavily on new facilities, IT and logistics. Analysts are looking for the company to have spent about $2 billion on infrastructure projects in the second quarter.
Last month, Amazon announced the planned acquisition of Whole Foods Market (WFM) for $13.7 billion, or $42 per share. With the deal is still in the works, I would not expect the company to provide any color on the transaction or very many details on its grocery plans. The acquisition could close sometime late in the second half of the year.
Likewise, I don't expect management to comment on rumors that Amazon may enter the healthcare industry. Recently there has been a lot of chatter in the investment community that Amazon has a "stealth lab" called "1492" that's dedicated to healthcare technology and is supposedly exploring ways to tap into medical record data to make it more accessible to consumers and physicians. Others have talked about Amazon building a drug distribution system. Its unlikely management will address any of these rumors.
In terms of third-quarter guidance, analysts have been modeling $39.96 billion in revenue, up 22% year over year and 7% sequentially. Right now, the consensus is looking for third-quarter EPS of $1.09, but that could bump up a few cents if the second-quarter comes in stronger than expected.
For full-year 2017, Amazon is expected to produce $166 billion in revenue, up 22% over 2016, and reach more than $200 billion next year.
In terms of valuation, analysts have come up with all sorts of methods to justify a higher target price. Some use price-to-sales and others use a sum-of-the-parts analysis. But whatever metrics or analyses you use, Amazon shares will most likely continue their move higher as the company gobbles up more market share and continues to deliver.
Amazon shares rose 2.7% to $1,080.71 early Thursday afternoon.
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