Back in 1994, a former hedge fund manager decided to launch an online bookstore. Considering he was not the first to do so, our executive found little traction on Wall Street, where his idea sounded boring.
He tried to convince the so-called “in crowd” that books were just the start. This was a technology company looking to change all manner of online transactions.
But even in the midst of the dot-com boom, few listened. That’s why this game changer was trading for only $18 – $1.50 when adjusted for stock splits – as it hit the market in May 1997.
Compare that where it trades now, around $2,045 a share. That’s a 136,233% gain, enough to transform $10,000 into $13.62 million.
This stock, of course, is Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).
And whether you haven’t yet profited from its earning potential or if you are holding shares of the stock already, you have plenty of reason to be excited.
I’m still seeing a huge amount of upside ahead.
Amazon just crushed on its Q4 earnings. In after-hours trading Thursday following the report, the stock jumped 12%.
I’m not surprised. From what I see, Amazon could double in less than three years – and double again after that. Take a look…
Own a Reliable Record Breaker
If the economy was slowing down at the end of 2019, you sure wouldn’t have known that from the terrific results we saw for Amazon. Thursday’s earnings release showed that the company had a blowout Christmas season. The Seattle-based juggernaut noted that that it saw $87 billion in sales in 2019’s fourth quarter.
Amazon now boasts 150 million Prime members, and items delivered to that installed base on free one-day and same-day delivery more than quadrupled in the quarter.
That’s an amazing accomplishment that bodes well for the stock – and my prediction of it hitting $3,000 a share.
The company also said it sold “tens of millions” of its own devices, like the Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick, all around the world.
It sure beat the pants off of physical stores. Analysts said retail sales at brick-and-mortar outlets were up about 1.2% (though many augmented that with online transactions as well).
In other words, Wall Street and retail investors alike should have listened to Jeff Bezos back when the company went public in May 1997. The debut of this stock offered the kinds of returns that millions of investors can only dream about.
I’ve also got a more current example of someone else – a high-profile stock “guru,” no less – who completely missed the boat.
You see, when AMZN crossed the $1,000 mark on May 31, 2017, CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer went on TV to bash the stock. He said that “psychologically” $1,000 is a lot to pay for a stock he felt was getting ahead of itself.
The stock has more than doubled since then, trading around $2,045 yesterday.
Simply put, Amazon has changed the very definition of retail. Millions of consumers start and end their shopping right on that site, taking advantage of “buy now,” prime shipping, and consumers reviews.
A recent market outlook from Statista notes that online sales will rise by 58% from the base year of 2017 through 2023. They will have risen from $468 billion to $740 billion.
And Amazon is set to dominate the U.S. market as it has for years now.
Of course, whenever we discuss a stock that has had Amazon-like returns, many investors usually ask, “Is it still too late to get in?” And at more than $2,000 a share, the stock feels expensive to people.
But if you haven’t invested in Amazon yet, don’t let the price – or the already impressive run – stop you…
No, It’s Still Not Too Late
Now, we can’t start all over in 1997, when Amazon first went public.
But we can take a look at the company’s operations, leadership, cash flow, and its sales and earnings growth. That way, we can quickly determine how much upside is still ahead.
In fact, this principle is so important that it forms Rule No. 5 of my five-part system for finding a market-crushing tech leader. That rule states, “Target stocks that can double your money.”
I can see that with Amazon because this is a very well-run firm that keeps finding new avenues of growth way beyond a straight-up e-commerce play.
Just look at what happened back in 2002. Amazon had bought so much server equipment for its data centers that it decided to start renting excess space to other businesses.
Today, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is nothing short of a cloud-hosting behemoth. In Q3 2019, AWS had sales of roughly $7.7 billion. That’s more than seven times the revenue in the comparable quarter five years ago. Its Q4 earnings report showed a 34% increase in cloud sales through AWS.
Yes, I understand that AWS now faces tough competition from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT). But the most recent data show that AWS still rules the hosting sector with three times the market share of Microsoft.
Global research firm Gartner says Amazon has 47.8% of market share for renting out cloud infrastructure. Microsoft came in second at 15.5%.
Plus, Amazon has more going for it than other e-commerce and cloud services. For instance, the firm has moved into AI-driven smart speakers and online music and video streaming.
And then there’s the $13.4 billion it paid for upscale grocery chain Whole Foods in 2017. It recently invested just shy of $1 billion last year for PillPack, moving into the online pharmacy business.
Those are two massive sectors with lots of money up for grabs. Groceries generate $675 billion in sales a year just in the United States alone while the drug industry brings in about $1.2 trillion a year in global revenue.
And Amazon remains the undisputed King of E-Commerce, its core business.
While we’re not likely to see the stock repeat its 136,233% return, it does have at least one more double ahead. Over the last three years, it has grown earnings per share an average of 104%.
If we cut that roughly in half to be conservative, we’d see the stock double in less than 18 months. So, let’s be extra cautious and just assume 25% earnings growth.
At that rate, the stock would double in less than three years. I believe we can conservatively forecast two doubles for this stock in as little as a decade.
In other words, as I have been saying for some time now, it’s still not too late to score big gains on this market-crushing stock.
— Michael Robinson
Source: Money Morning