Analysts weigh in on online retail giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and professional networking giant LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE:LNKD). While one analyst maintains a bullish outlook on Amazon as unit growth increases, the other lowers his price target on LinkedIn to reflect investor concern following recent discussions.
Gene Muster of Piper Jaffray maintained an Overweight rating on the Amazon with a price target of $800 after the company displayed healthy unit growth through Google search interest in January and February.
Muster views Amazon as the “best positioned stock in [his] coverage over the next five years” due to continued ritual unit growth strength, operating margin expansion, future expansion from new categories through its platforms, and a reasonable valuation at ~11.5x 2017 EV/EBITDA.
Munster highlights that Amazon’s search interest analytics “indicate strong performance” QTD. According to his analysis of Google trends search data, Amazon’s unit growth should “show slight deceleration during Mar-16 quarter” as growth decelerated to 24% from 26% in the Dec-15 quarter. Based on regression analysis, Munster determined that his estimates are “on average ~1.5% under the actual unit growth” and that “over the past 32 quarters [his] regression analysis has correlated 0.95 with Amazon’s reported unit growth.”
Munster believes the unit growth can be attributed to the “increased prime membership, faster delivery speeds, a wider availability of prime-eligible items, better conversion on mobile, and support from eCommerce growth trends.” The analyst expects these trends to continue after Amazon “begins to see benefit from penetrating a new TAM with same-day/hour delivery and autonomous ordering.”
Gene Munster is ranked #6 out of 3,765 analysts on TipRanks. He has an average return of 17.6% per rating and a 61% success rate recommending stocks.
Out of the 36 analysts that rated Amazon in the past 3 months, 32 analysts rated the stock a Buy and 4 analysts rated the stock a Hold. The average 12-month price target is $755.40, representing a 33% upside from current levels.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Austin Moldow weighed in on LinkedIn after recent investor discussions related to its Q4:15 earnings report last month which was marked by weak guidance. The analyst is trimming his estimates on the company to reflect slightly lower revenue expectations “driven largely by non-core areas like Premium Subscriptions ex-Sales Navigator and more significantly slower margin expectations.” Accordingly, Moldow lowered his price target from $222 to $175, while maintaining a Buy rating on the stock. LinkedIn is a business oriented social networking service used mainly for professional networking.
Moldow believes the main areas investors are concerned with are “implications of talent solutions emphasis shift to SMBs [small and midsize business], whether there is more upside to sales navigator, when operating leverage might appear, whether the stock can work as growth decelerates.”
While UVM growth slowed to 8% in Q4 and member page views declined, Moldow believes these numbers will improve in Q1 as “management noted its reimagined flagship app is improving engagement.” Moldow also believes that the new recruiter product should “pave the way for gradual pricing expansion for large enterprises, and Referrals could become an important add-on product.” He also expects management will “redouble efforts in 2016 to create a set of product that is attractive to the SMB market” where there is significant job growth.
In terms of marketing solutions, Moldow sees room in the evolution of ad load and sponsored updates “despite adjacent pressure from discontinued Lead Accelerator and display.” Growth for 2015 was approximately 2/3 volume and 1/3 price. Moldow believes “there is more room for pricing expansion.” Lastly, Moldow sees estimates for Sales Navigator as “robust,” but they are “warranted given success to date and the potential for more large enterprise deals.”
According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Austin Moldow has an average loss of (42.5%) and a 0% success rate recommending stocks. Out of the 28 analysts that rated LinkedIn in the past 3 months, 17 analysts rated the stock a Buy and 11 analysts rated the stock a Hold. The average 12-month price target is $180.62, representing a 57.22% upside from current levels.