MATASII SII ANALYSIS:  JULY 12, 2018 CALL:  The daily chart (right) gives us a closer look at more recent action. The low and lift we can see in April comes off two significant technicals: previous long term weekly channel; and the current support from the wedge pattern since the lift started in 2017. Solid orange highlights technical trigger considerations: breaking up above the higher could mean a continuation of the positive wedge pattern; falling below the lower would have the market broken down out of the wedge pattern and through a significant blue s/r zone. Orange dashed arrows offer potential moves for consideration from one technical to the next.

In general we are watching to see if the market will continue it's positive lift within the rising expanding wedge or not. Lifting past recent highs and Fibonacci levels offers potential opportunities for more lift. IF the market falls out of the expanding wedge pattern, (WE HAVE BROKEN THE WEDGE) then we would also like to see the break of the significant support at the blue s/r zone for more down consideration (WE HAVE NOT YET BROKEN THE BLUE CHANNEL LINE).

Initial Chart:

As of 10-28-18





10-25-18 - "Amazon Plunges After Missing On Revenue, Poor Guidance"

After two days of dramatic volatility in its stock, which saw the share price of Amazon first drop then soar by over $100, Jeff Bezos' online retailing titan was expected to report blow out earnings, and while it indeed reported EPS which smashed expectations, it missed on revenue while guiding well below consensus, in a carbon copy of what it did last quarter.

In knee-jerk response, the stock tumbled more than 6%.

Here are the details from Amazon's just concluded third quarter:

  • EPS of $5.75, smashing estimates of $3.11
  • Operating income of $3.72 billion, also beating consensus estimates of  $2.13 billion
  • However, revenue of $56.576BN, missed the estimate $57.06 billion. Amazon in July forecast revenue of $54 billion to $57.5 billion

More importantly, Amazon guided Q4 net sales to be between $66.5 billion and $72.5 billionwhich however was far below the consensus est. $73.78B. Meanwhile, operating income is expected to come in between $2.1 and $3.6 billion, compared with $2.1 billion in Q4 2017, and also well below the consensus estimate of $3.9 billion.

This will be the key question facing shareholders: why the drop in margins in what is traditionally Amazon's most lucrative quarter?

Here a quick reminder that at the end of last quarter, Amazon did the exact same thing: beat on Earnings and Operating Income, while missing on revenue and guiding lower, yet the stock soared. Why the opposite reaction this time? The answer is likely due to heightened investor concerns about "peak earnings" and with the company once again guiding well below consensus, even if it is due to sandbagging, the market is not happy.

Indeed, as RJ Hottovy, analyst at Morningstar writes, investors are worried about the weak profit outlook for the busy holiday quarter and why Amazon expects spending to increase.  Specifically, analysts will want clarity on whether it's a result of one-time costs like investing in a second headquarters or ongoing expenses like giving warehouse workers raises and opening new Amazon Go stores.

"It all comes down to not knowing why they expect to have heavier spending in their busiest quarter," he said.

Going back to the historical data, and looking at Amazon's most important segment, Amazon Web Services, or AWS, in Q3 it generated net sales of $6.68 billion, up from $6.11 billion last quarter, an increase of 46% Y/Y, if below the 49% growth rate last quarter but better than the 36% growth a year ago. Here is the historical growth rate of AWS:

In his remarks in the press release, CEO Jeff Bezos indicated that he is focusing on Amazon Business, noting that the segment has reached a $10 billion annual sales run rate.

“And we’re not slowing down – Amazon Business is adding customers rapidly, including large educational institutions, local governments, and more than half of the Fortune 100. These organizations are choosing Amazon Business because it increases transparency into business spending and streamlines purchasing, with increased control. The team is doing a fantastic job building and innovating for customers.”

For those still concerned about AMZN's cash burn, the company reported LTM Free Cash Flow in Q2 of just over $15.4 billion, a new all time high.

Perhaps even more impressive is that after sliding in early 2017, Amazon's operating margin has soared in the past three quarters, largely as a result of AWS, and just hit the highest number on record.

Clearly, this means that the company's LTM operating margin is soaring, after dropping modestly in early/mid 2017:

What is somewhat surprising is that after constantly growing its global net sales, in Q3 this number dipped sharply, from 44% in Q2 to 35% in Q3 even as total headcount increased from 575K to 613K. As a reference, at the beginning of 2017, Amazon employed around 350,000 full- and part-time workers. Now the headcount is at 613,300, up 13% from the same time last year.

As noted above, the kneejerk reaction was negative, and the stock has plunged much as 6% after hours.