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Amazon is gearing up for a "blowout" holiday season with earnings in the fourth quarter likely to beat Wall Street expectations, one noted technology analyst said Monday.
Daniel Ives of GBH Insights said in a research note that he believes Prime customers, those signed up to Amazon's subscription service, are estimated to spend 20 to 25 percent more this holiday season from last year. This, coupled with growth in the number of U.S. and international Prime members is "setting the stage for a blowout holidays season," he said.
As a result, Amazon could beat the Street's fourth-quarter top-line estimate by 3 to 5 percent. Amazon is expected to report revenue in the three months to December of $59.7 billion, according to data from Thomson Reuters.
Ives raised his price target on the e-commerce giant's stock from $1,185 to $1,270. That would represent a more than 12 percent rise from Friday's close. Amazon shares were up fractionally in premarket trading Monday. They are up more than 50 percent this year.
"While shares have had an eye popping run to date, we believe there is more fuel left in the tank as Amazon only appears to be in the middle innings of an unprecedented growth cycle across both the consumer and enterprise segments," Ives said.
The analyst said that the $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods will continue to help Amazon increase Prime membership and the cross-selling of products. Amazon has been cutting the price of Whole Foods items and integrating those products into its Prime offering. Ives called this a great "one-two punch" that should increase sales from Prime members for 2018 and is "still underappreciated by the Street."
In the third quarter, Amazon reported earnings that beat market expectations. Other major areas investors are excited about include the continued growth of Amazon Web Services, the company's cloud division.
Amazon is one of Wall Street's best-loved stocks with 15 strong buy ratings and 28 buy ratings, according to Reuters data. It has just three hold ratings and one sell. One potential negative point is the operating margin, which fell to 0.8 percent in the last quarter, the lowest since September 2014. This is a result of Amazon's continued investment.
But many investors appear to have shrugged this off, seeing the expenditure as necessary for Amazon to continue growing.
And Amazon could become the first $1 trillion company, according to one investment bank. Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley put forward a "bull case" 12-month price target of $2,000 per share for Amazon, which would put its market capitalization above $1 trillion.