Wal-Mart's online sales grew 30 percent last year compared with Amazon's 20 percent growth according to Internet Retailer, an industry publication. Five years ago, those growth rates were reversed.
But, before the folks in Bentonville, AR, pop open a bottle Martini & Rossi, here's a statistic that puts it all in perspective: Wal-Mart's online sales were $10 billion compared with Amazon's $68 billion. Thus, if they both continue to grow at the same rates, Wal-Mart's annual online sales will finally surpass Amazon's by 2068.
In the meantime, which stock is the better buy?
Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global, said Wal-Mart is the better bet for investors compared with Amazon.
"What Wal-Mart has basically said is 'we're not going to go down without a fight,'" said Sanchez, a CNBC contributor. "They've plowed probably $500 million into buying e-commerce platforms and [are] really trying to beef up their online presence."
Among other things, the Wal-Mart purchased social media startup Kosmix in 2011 reportedly for over $300 million. Yet, what draws Sanchez to Wal-Mart over Amazon is valuation?
"The only thing that Wal-Mart has going for it is that it's cheaper," Sanchez said. "It's trading at less than 15 times earnings whereas Amazon trades, in terms of forward earnings, above 89 times."
"If I were to choose between Amazon and Wal-Mart," Sanchez said, "I would pick Wal-Mart as the winner."
Steven Pytlar, chief equity strategist at Prime Executions, said the charts also favor Wal-Mart, but not because Wal-Mart is necessarily a buy at its current price of $78.01 per share. He believes it will move lower but not fall nearly as much as Amazon.
"Wal-Mart looks better," said Pytlar, because "Amazon has been under a lot of pressure."
According to Pytlar's charts, Wal-Mart's problem is that it's facing resistance at the $80 per share price.
"It's having trouble generating valuations above the $80 mark," Pytlar said. "If you do want to own it longer term, you could probably get it at a bit lower price. We wouldn't be negative, we wouldn't be positive. It's a pretty neutral chart overall…. You can probably get it a little bit lower from here."
Meanwhile, Pytlar sees trouble for Amazon's stock. "You're seeing a lot of growth and momentum type investors coming out of the stock," Pytlar said. "It's been under pressure for the last several months. Earnings really haven't been indicative of what those growth investors were looking for. But, you haven't seen value investors come back into the stock yet. We've been negative on it. We've been recommending sales in the stock to clients over the past couple of months."
"I would definitely prefer Wal-Mart in the near term even though they both look a little weak very near term."
To see the full discussion on Wal-Mart versus Amazon, with Sanchez on the fundamentals and Pytlar on the fundamentals, watch the above video.