What does the future hold for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)? Analysts weigh in on the two internet giants, providing commentary on recent events. Let’s take a closer look.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd
Deutsche Bank analyst Alan Hellawell was out today with comments on Alibaba, after the Chinese e-commerce giant said it is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC asked the company to provide “details of its accounting” for a delivery affiliate, it s operating data for the its largest online shopping day of the year and all “related party transactions in general”.
Hellawell commented, “Given market sensitivity to corporate governance issues, the SEC indicated that the request did not imply any violation of federal securities laws. These dialogues, moreover, occur with some regularity between the SEC and other listed Chinese Internet companies. While we would never be dismissive of an SEC inquiry, we believe that investigations are sometimes launched because the SEC is unfamiliar with various constructs (e.g., – Cainiao’s unique business model, the unprecedented scale of Singles Day, etc.).”
The analyst continued, “We believe that Alibaba and accountants PWC are satisfied with the robustness of current tests for consolidation around Cainiao. Holding only 47% of the company, and three of six board seats with no veto power, we do not believe that the company evidences a control relationship, and have historically viewed the accounting for Cainiao as an equity method investee as uncontroversial. An open platform. Cainiao, moreover, technically provides support to clients outside Alibaba Group (e.g., logistics companies). We note that Alibaba has improved disclosure around Cainiao between the recent 20F, discussions during quarterly results, and in broader interactions. Even by running a hypothetical consolidation of Cainiao, we believe its impact to be limited on BABA. We think the co views itself as fully US GAAP compliant on these fronts.”
Hellawell reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Alibaba, with a price target of $110, which represents a potential upside of 41.5% from where the stock is currently trading.
According to TipRanks.com, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Alan Hellawell has a yearly average return of 23% and a 43% success rate. Hellawell has a -2% average return when recommending BABA, and is ranked #233 out of 3958 analysts.
Cantor analyst Youssef Squali reiterated a Buy rating on shares of Amazon, with a price target of $800, as the company is instituting a surge pricing model during the peak months of Nov./Dec., under which it will charge FBA merchants up to ~3x more/unit volume of goods stored in AMZN’s fulfillment centers.
Squali noted, “Recent moves by Amazon to contain fulfillment costs are likely to strengthen its operational superiority relative to off-line and online peers, and improve margins as its retail offering continues to grow at 1.5-2x the pace of overall ecommerce. After incurring an estimated ~$200M in incremental costs from a heavy influx of 3P inventory in 4Q:15, AMZN seems to be proactively looking to avoid a repeat of that in 2016 by using surge pricing for its FBA offering as a lever to affect both the timing and volume of the 3P inventory carried in its FCs. Additionally, AMZN’s successful rollout of the SFP program last year should further alleviate pressure on FBA during peak periods, while the build-out of a proprietary air cargo network should help cut down on delivery times and delivery costs.”
According to TipRanks.com, analyst Youssef Squali has a yearly average return of 14% and a 62% success rate. Squali has a 35% average return when recommending AMZN, and is ranked #16 out of 3958 analysts.
Out of the 45 analysts polled by TipRanks, 40 rate Amazon stock a Buy, while 5 rate the stock a Hold. With a return potential of 9%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $779.02.