Amazon is about to take off

on Aug30

In his first note to investors since the buyout of the organic grocery chain became official on Monday, Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets raised his estimate for Amazon’s 2018 profit by 10 percent.

He also boosted his estimate for earnings per share by 4 percent, to $9.79, and hiked his estimate for 2018 revenue by 8 percent, to $224 billion.

Shares of Amazon hit an all-time high of $1,083 a share last month. Since July 26, however, the stock has fallen more than 8 percent, almost into correction territory.

Mahaney says this is a great time for anyone who missed previous runups to pile into the stock. In his note, published late Tuesday, he reiterates his outperform rating on the stock and his $1,100 a share price target. That is 15 percent higher than where the stock is currently trading.

The note cites work by RBC’s Whole Foods analyst, William Kirk, showing, “Amazon is lowering prices on average by 20% to 25%” on many items at the grocery chain. The goal is to increase the high-end grocery store’s clientele beyond the high-end consumer. The note goes on to say “we think we’ll see a lot of price-cutting in the near, medium and long term.”

Beyond the Whole Foods deal, Mahaney says secular growth for online retailers will increase by at least 1 percent a year. Mahaney estimates that Amazon already accounts for one-fifth of all online retail sales “but the company’s strong mobile positioning and infrastructure advantages facilitating next-day and same-day delivery should allow Amazon to continue to take share.”

The RBC note also says Amazon’s mastery of online retail will grow as the company finds new ways to gain share in sales of consumer staples and apparel, and as it makes more inroads in the media space and office and industrial supplies sectors.

However, there are a few areas where Amazon could hit a stumbling block.

Mahaney cites the stock’s high valuation, the possibility of “imposition of sales tax across the U.S.,” and the likelihood that other retailers will innovate and claw back some of the market share they’ve lost to the internet sales giant.

There is also the risk of an unknown competitor yet to surface in the digital age with a new business model, he said.

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