Amazon.com, Inc. surprised Wall Street on Thursday afternoon by posting a profit for the three months through June. By consensus analysts on Wall Street were looking for the firm to show a loss of 14 cents per share. Jeff Bezos, the firm’s CEO, delivered a 19c profit per share instead. Wall Street is playing catch up on Friday morning.
Many report that re-evaluate Amazon have been published since the firm released its numbers. Paul Vogel from Barclays summed up the most important line in a report he published on Friday morning. “Margins are expanding much faster than we thought,” he wrote, and previous estimates have been far too pessimistic.
Amazon starts to grow
Shares in Amazon are up by more than 19 percent in this morning’s pre-market and those gains are likely to hold through until open. Traders appear to think that the firm is worth much more after the second quarter earnings. At the root of that new-found value is Amazon Web Services.
Vogel said that the “quarter was too good in our view to wait” for a ratings change and upped his price target on Amazon to $700 with an Overweight rating. Barclays previously rated Amazon at Equal Weight with a price target of $412.
His sentiment was echoed by many others on Wall Street. Morgan Stanley upped its price target to $740, while JPMorgan raised its price target to $710. Victor Anthony, of Axiom Capital, said that though “it is unlikely that Jeff Bezos will spin off AWS…bulls could continue to hold onto a spin as a future option to enhance shareholder value.”
Margins in Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing segment, rose to 21 percent in the second quarter. Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research told Benzinga that “Basically, Amazon invented” the cloud business. He said it was reaping the rewards while more established tech firms languished behind.
Amazon shares head higher
Amazon recorded a profit of just $92m in the second quarter, but its market cap has grown by multiples of that in after-market trading. The firm is now worth much more than Wal-Mart. And its lead over Chinese rival Alibaba Group Holding Inc. has been firmly established.
Before earnings arrived the options markets were pricing in a likely 9 percent move in the firm’s shares. The outsized performance of AWS, as well as global retail sales, has driven the firm’s stock well beyond that.
Shares will set a new all time high on Friday morning once the market opens, and the firm’s share price now dwarfs its level during the dotcom bubble. Back in those heady days shares in the firm sold for close to $100 before dropping below $10. Today shares will open for more than $570.
In a report titled “Christmas in July” Robert Drbul of Mizuho Securities said that “the benefits of Prime are beginning to show meaningfully” and added that “continued international adoption of Prime as a huge opportunity.”