It has been several years in the making, but drone delivery appears as though it is about to become a reality. Google has just had its drone delivery project approved by the FAA, the first such approval. The caveat is that the approval is only for an area in rural Virginia. But still, it is a breakthrough for the growing and fiercely competitive drone industry. Amazon and others are vying for FAA approval as companies want to be the go-to provider of nation-wide drone delivery. The division of Alphabet running the drone program is called Wing Aviation.
FINSUM: UPS, FedEx, and USPS drivers should be nervous about this, but it is a major breakthrough that has been a long-time coming.
Kohl’s did something we think is really brilliant. The company announced yesterday that it has entered an agreement with Amazon to accept all the online retailer’s returns. Kohls’ shares soared on the news. The program is an expansion of a pilot it started in 100 stores, but will now offer the service in all 1,150 stores. Kohl’s will also be selling Amazon merchandise.
FINSUM: We know from in-depth retailing experience that returns are a huge driver of foot traffic and extra sales. This is a very smart way to bring new customers into the store. Kohl’s revenue will rise materially from doing this. Brilliant strategy and very synergistic for both sides.
Tony Mitchell is a well-known fund manager in the tech space. His tech mutual fund has outperformed the market for years. However, it has done so with a very interesting quirk—it has never held Amazon, until now that is. The reason why is that its P/E ratio always seemed to high at between 190 and 400. However, recently, Amazon’s P/E ratio has fallen back to earth. Its current ~80x is not cheap by any measure, except against its own history. The company’s web services division is growing strongly, its advertising business is surging, and it has a good foothold in the gaming industry. This means it could be a good time to pick up Amazon’s stock.
FINSUM: If you believe Amazon is going to continue its growth story, then right now does seem like an ideal time to pick up shares.
Amazon has had two rough patches following its last two earnings releases. The stock fell in October after its third quarter earnings release, and again last week after its fourth quarter numbers. December as a whole was a rough patch too. However, all this presents a good buying opportunity, says one equity research analyst. “Amazon typically experiences some downside follow-through over the day and week after a move lower on earnings, but over the next one and three months, these moves lower have presented very good buying opportunities”, says the analyst, from Bespoke Investment Group.
FINSUM: This is not arguing that Amazon is suddenly some kind of value stock, but if you are thinking of going long anyway, the current environment may represent a good buying opportunity.
There has been a lot of speculation lately, including by FINSUM, that Amazon might buy FedEx. FedEx’s share price could be considered cheap, and it would be a bold and strategic move if Amazon is actually committed to building its logistics business. However, Barron’s is today arguing that Amazon will never buy FedEx. The reasons why are two-fold. The first is that the 10.7x p/e ratio is not actually very cheap, and secondly, because Amazon does not really need FedEx’s capabilities, which have less to do with last mile delivery than they do with “upstream sorting”.
FINSUM: The real question here is whether Amazon wants to build up a logistics business in its own right, not just internal capabilities to serve its ecommerce business. If it does, then it is a smart acquisition. However, it would likely face significant anti-trust hurdles.