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Analysts Are Outperforming Critics on the Future of Amazon Stock

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has easily been one of the biggest winners from the coronavirus pandemic. As Amazon shares continue to hit all-time highs and record closes, analysts are only chasing the stock higher.

There have been market headwinds for most companies, but these have really been tailwinds for Amazon. With more consumers working from home and staying in doors, Amazon’s delivery service and online retail marketplace have basically become essential services.

As a result, the trade has gotten very crowded and pushed shares even higher. Currently Amazon stock has gained about 41% year to date, beating out both the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 by miles.

Wall Street has been chasing Amazon higher and multiple analysts have jumped their price targets to $3,000 and beyond. Even with all this success, some are calling for the company to be broken up and others are criticizing Amazon’s stance on social issues.

Analysts Racing Higher

At RBC Capital Markets, Mark Mahaney reiterated an Outperform rating and raised his price target to $3,300. Mahaney currently has the highest price target on the street.

In RBC’s annual online shopping survey, the brokerage firm highlighted that online retail is becoming a structural and secular win from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. The firm also pointed to Amazon Prime’s penetration, which popped up to 67% from 59% in 2019. Meanwhile, worldwide subscriptions are likely to soon hit 200 million, from 150 million in January.

At the same time, investment bank Wells Fargo reiterated an Outperform rating and raised its price target to $3,000 from $2,750. It sees Amazon’s accelerated build-out for the last mile of fulfillment on top of a gradual return to normalized work life and school life helping. Customers will be expecting more rapid deliveries even as competitors’ store-based sales become available again.

Here’s what a few other analysts had to say within the past week:

  • Jefferies reiterated a Buy rating and raised its price target to $3,100 from $2,800.
  • BofA Securities reiterated a Buy rating and raised its price target to $3,000 from $2,600.
  • Robert Baird reiterated an Outperform rating and raised its price target to $2,750 from $2,550.
  • Pivotal Research reiterated a Buy rating with a $2,700 price target.

It’s worth pointing out that all these firms raised their revenue expectations for 2020 and 2021, hence the rising price targets.

Breaking Up Is Hard

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and real-life Tony Stark, recently sent out a controversial tweet. As Musk is known for his controversial Twitter stream, this one was no exception. Musk called for Amazon to be broken up.

Musk is calling for Amazon to be broken up in part because itsKindle publishing operation refused to publish a book about the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that decision was “insane” and showed Amazon’s extraordinary strength.

In a sense Musk is making the case that Amazon has too much control over what people can and cannot read. It is a fact that Amazon does operate the world’s largest online bookstore.

This isn’t the first time that a breakup of Amazon has been brought to the table. The U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into whether Amazon was a monopoly only a year ago.

It’s worth pointing out here that Amazon investors may get more than they bargained for if a breakup is pursued — meaning the company may be even more valuable broken up. Amazon Web Services is by far the most profitable segment and without the low margins of e-commerce holding it down, it could really fly on its own.

One Unhappy Loser

CEO Jeff Bezos made a splash in the news over the past week after an interesting interaction with a customer. On Sunday, Bezos posted an email on Instagram that he received from an unhappy Amazon customer who had some unsavory complaints.

Bezos revealed that he had been receiving “sickening but not surprising” emails in regards to Amazon’s banner of “Black Lives Matter.” This customer reiterated the argument that “All Lives Matter,” to which Bezos responded that Black Lives Matter “doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter.”

Amazon’s CEO further explained that he supports the movement and was not going to change his stance on the matter, or even change his website banner.

Perhaps the most newsworthy interaction came in the form of another email, where a customer used a myriad of obscenities and racially disparaging terms to convey his resentment towards Bezos and his stance. The customer concluded by saying that his business relationship with Amazon was over.

Bezos posted a screenshot of the email, saying “this sort of hate shouldn’t be allowed to hide in the shadows.” He added that this was one customer he was happy to lose.