Company Earnings Keep Margin Heading to Zero

Print Email Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) shares have defied gravity, and maybe even defied logic, for so long that it is almost just too hard to criticize the company each time it reports earnings. Amazon has been growing and growing and Jeff Bezos seems to have no cares about margins today. His focus is likely how to position Amazon for 2016 to 2020, and maybe beyond. Now the online retailer of everything is out with its second quarter earnings report that is bringing some concern to the Amazon stock bulls.

The company’s second quarter earnings came in with a loss of -$0.02 EPS and a 22% sales gain to $15.7 billion in revenue. That is versus $0.01 EPS and $12.83 billion a year ago, and the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates were $0.05 EPS and $15.73 billion in sales. Operating income decreased 26% to $79 million in the second quarter, compared with $107 million in second quarter 2012. The margin appears to be only 0.5% versus 1.1% one quarter ago.

Guidance was put between $15.45 and $17.15 billion in sales (up 12% to 24%) and its operating loss is expected to be between $440 million and $65 million, compared to $28 million in third quarter 2012. Thomson Reuters has the coming quarter at $0.09 EPS and $16.98 billion.

If you want to know just how high of a premium that Amazon trades at, the forward P/E ratios spell it out well enough. Amazon’s Thomson Reuters consensus estimates of $1.27 EPS for 2013 and $3.10 EPS for 2014 generate forward earnings multiples of nearly 240 for 2013 and about 98 for 2014.

Amazon shares closed up 1.5% at $303.40 on Thursday against a 52-week trading range of $214.95 to $309.39. The Thomson Reuters consensus analyst price target was just over $320 going into today’s earnings report. We saw that the initial stock reaction was down almost 5% and now we show that Amazon’s shares in the after-hours session are down about 2% at $297.50.