Amazon EPS Revisions not Impacted by Weaker UPS Forecast
A weaker 2012 outlook from shipper UPS on Tuesday sent its share price. But this bellwether indicator of overall economic activity hasn’t impacted Amazon analyst revisions, which have actually increased since then. Amazon.Com (AMZN.O) is set to report earnings after the market close today, with StarMine’s SmartEstimate of earnings at $0.037. That’s 16% above the street mean of $0.021, and that divergence historically hints at over a 70% chance of a positive earnings surprise when the company reports after the close of trading.
Only two days ago the SmartEstimate was at $0.019, which was 2.6% above the $0.016 mean of all analysts. Any time the SmartEstimate varies from the mean estimate by 2% in either direction, look for the actual earnings report to agree more with the SmartEstimate. It’s also a good forecaster of the direction of future revisions, which is why SmartEstimate followers aren’t surprised by any company’s mean estimates moving in that direction, yet alone widely-followed Amazon. There’s broad disagreement on the number, as analyst forecasts range from a loss of $0.22 to a gain of $0.37.
Next quarter‘s SmartEstimate earnings projection lies at $0.131, which is 4% below the current mean of $0.137. That mean value however has come up 5.6% in the past 7 days. That spread may change yet again after the firm’s conference call, set for 5PM EDT. Analysts listening in will look for more visibility and any signs of a stronger market outlook from Amazon management.
Of particular interest on the conference call will be Amazon’s Operating Margins, which have fallen from 4.9% in June 2010 to 1.4% in the last quarter. In contrast the Consumer Discretionary sector overall has seen an increase from 9.3% to 10.3% over the same period. Inventory turnover grew slightly to 9.7 times (same as June 2010), and bulls will be looking for further improvements there, as opposed to a more or less flat Consumer Discretionary sector.
The market still seems to favor Amazon’s prospects, with StarMine’s Intrinsic Valuation (IV) Model showing a 10-year average EPS growth rate of 34% implied by the recent share price. Historically, less than 1 out of every 100 large cap stocks have been able to maintain an growth rate above 29% for 10 year. So bulls seem to be betting that Amazon could be that 1 in 100 company.