Amazon's booming online sales and Whole Foods acquisition make it a buy: Analysts

Key Points
  • Amazon will report its September quarter earnings results on Thursday, according to its website.
  • Analysts reaffirm their buy ratings and raise their price targets despite the 29 percent gain in Amazon stock already this year.
Jeff Bezos
Gary Cameron | Reuters

Amazon shares have nearly doubled the market's gain so far this year. But even after the big runup, Wall Street analysts are recommending that investors buy them before this week's earnings report.

Deutsche Bank on Tuesday reiterated its buy rating for Amazon shares, predicting solid results from its e-commerce business.

"Heading into Amazon's 3Q results, we expect strong top-line growth to continue, especially in retail where Amazon has been aggressively investing in fulfillment facilities and content to improve the overall value to consumers / Prime members," analyst Lloyd Walmsley wrote in a note to clients.

"We remain bullish on the name as a core long-term holding with the largest TAM [total addressable market] of any company we cover and strong long term barriers."

Walmsley raised his price target to $1,192, which is 23 percent higher than Monday's closing price. His old price target was $1,175.

The analyst said the company has significantly increased its fulfillment and operational capabilities in international markets such as India, Singapore, Brazil and Europe. He is also optimistic about Amazon's ability to take advantage of its recent Whole Foods Market acquisition.

In the near term, Amazon should be able to use the Whole Foods stores as a way to draw its Prime subscribers to order food online, he said.

Longer term, he said, "we expect Amazon to leverage the Whole Foods Market brand and supply chain to source high-quality food and build demand for it, but ultimately leverage Amazon's expertise to drive efficiency in the logistics efforts, fulfilling orders outside of the Whole Foods Market store footprint."

JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth reaffirmed his overweight rating for Amazon shares, predicting strong growth trends for its Whole Foods business.

"Going forward we expect Whole Foods Market revenue to accelerate," he wrote Tuesday. "We believe Amazon is well positioned as the market leader in eCommerce … We believe Amazon continues to show strong ability to take share of overall eCommerce, and its flexibility in pushing first-party vs. third-party inventory and its Prime offering both serve as major advantages."

Anmuth raised his price target for the company to $1,180 from $1,175.

Amazon's stock is up 29 percent this year through Monday compared with the S&P 500's 15 percent gain. Its shares rose 1 percent shortly after Tuesday's market open.

The company will report third-quarter results on Thursday, according to its website.