Amazon's HQ2 decision is caught in a political firestorm, its CEO is tabloid fodder, its guidance was weak - and its stock hasn't budged. Here's why.
- Despite a maelstrom of events surrounding Amazon in recent weeks, its stock's reaction has been relatively muted.
- In interviews with Markets Insider, analysts attributed the stock's lack of action to investors choosing to ignore what they see as "noise," and focusing on the company's fundamentals.
- Follow Amazon's stock here on Markets Insider.
If an Amazon shareholder had fallen into a deep sleep for the last month or so and woke up this week, they might check on their investment and figure the company had generally avoided any sort of recent critical public attention.
After all, judging by most ways its chart can be sliced, the stock hasn't seen any tremendous action as of late - the near-$800 billion stock has fallen nearly 2% in one month, remained essentially unchanged in the last week, and has gained 7% so far this year.But, of course, the events surrounding Amazon have been anything but quiet.
After days of reports that Amazon was considering ditching plans to build its second headquarters in New York City, the company said on Thursday it had officially cancelled its move, sparking debates across the political spectrum over whether the decision was a victory or a loss.
Meanwhile, its founder and chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos, is embroiled in a public, personal scandal tied to a supermarket tabloid that's dragging on weeks after he and his wife said they would divorce.
And while its quarterly earnings late last month topped Wall Street's forecasts, its lighter-than-expected guidance pushed even the most bullish analysts to acknowledge growth is slowing across various business segments.
Yet, none of these factors have substantially depressed the share price of one of the world's largest retailers run by the world's richest person. So have investors become complacent, or are they being prudent?
Analysts interviewed by Markets Insider attribute the lack of action to investors choosing to ignore what they see as "noise," and focus on the company's fundamentals.Read more: Amazon's abrupt escape from New York won't hurt its business one bit, say analysts
"I think a lot of people are maybe rightly questioning why the shares have not reacted more adversely," Tuna Amobi, senior equity analyst at CFRA, said in a phone interview on Friday. "These are more or less things that have no major bearing on the company's strategy, nor any kind of proven correlation to the outlook, however you look at it. So from a fundamental perspective, I think the story remains intact."
Amobi added that he is not adjusting his "buy" rating and bullish $2,000 price target.
Others reiterated that while a flurry of stories are indeed surrounding the name, their investment thesis isn't shifting as a result. Tom Forte, an equity analyst at D.A. Davidson, told clients on Friday his firm would maintain its "buy" recommendation on Amazon shares.
His price target of $2,450 - the stock's highest on Wall Street, according to Bloomberg data - implies a rally of more than 50% from current levels. To be sure, Amazon stock has fallen a little more than 20% from its all-time high last September; it traded as much as 1% lower on Friday.
"While there's turmoil around the company, I think the reason the stock has held up is because the growth engine that is AWS remains very robust," he told Business Insider in a phone interview on Friday, referring to Amazon Web Services.
He added that investors are still "digesting the news and trying to figure out what it means," but said Amazon may be losing out on what would have been advantages of being in the city."While I believe that Amazon is bluffing, and this story isn't over yet, if in fact they do lose New York as a second headquarters site, I think that it may have a slight negative impact on two of their very important efforts where being in New York would be advantageous - advertising and media."
Proponents of the initial plan to move to New York suggested it would bring thousands of jobs and economic opportunity to the city. Peter Boockvar, the chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, told Business Insider the news was "noise" for investors, but added in a separate note to clients that the headquarters would have benefitted New York City.
Opponents said the headquarters in the Long Island City section of Queens would have driven up home prices and burdened already-congested public transportation.
Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, an institutional trading firm, told Business Insider it would appear Amazon is "winning the PR battle." He said in an email on Friday that if he were an investor, he would be pleased with the company's decision.
"I don't know if this was a negotiating ploy ... or if they're really going to bail on NYC. Either way, however, I don't see it having any negative impact on their business."
- Everyone thinks the market's hottest tech stocks are too expensive - but new research suggests one segment is offering a major bargain right now
- GOLDMAN SACHS: There's striking proof that a stock-market slowdown is near, and surviving it will require the use of one time-tested strategy