Sunday, December 10

Amazon’s 20-for-1 Split is Interesting But It’s Not the Main Event

  • After years of supreme dominance, AMZN stock has been relatively muted.
  • The upcoming stock split is interesting but is largely cosmetic.
  • Focus on the core reasons why you want (or don’t want) AMZN stock.

For years, the scorched-earth campaign of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) showed no signs of weakness, sucking up small businesses across the nation — and perhaps eventually the world — and becoming the unquestioned e-commerce king. However, the latest rumblings of AMZN stock have finally left some questions for bullish investors.

On a year-to-date basis, Amazon shares are down 4%, disappointing those who thought the underlying company could rise above the muck. And while over the trailing year, AMZN stock is up 6%, though that’s a rather pedestrian figure compared to what it was able to achieve since the middle of last decade.

The issue isn’t lost on the company, with management declaring a 20-for-1 stock split, along with a $10 billion buyback. Per CNBC, the upcoming Amazon reverse split will be the first since 1999 and the fourth since AMZN stock went public in 1997.

Theoretically, the decision should make shares more accessible to retail investors. But otherwise, the split is cosmetic, which doesn’t affect the core business. And that’s ultimately what investors should focus on when it comes to Amazon: the stock split is just the appetizer to the main dish.

AMZN $3,295.47

AMZN Stock Draws Interest for Key Initiatives

While the much-discussed news item above might not move the needle dramatically for AMZN stock, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no reason to be excited about the underlying company. True, fresh Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is having a challenging debut. But that also suggests greater attention toward the e-commerce giant’s most attractive units.

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In the new normal that the coronavirus pandemic brought to us, Amazon is taking advantage, investing more money into its Prime subscription service. With people having more time to themselves because of the grand work-from-home experiment, this could be money worth spent.

More critically, Amazon is also busy developing and growing its AWS cloud-computing platform. With millions of white-collar workers operating remotely, it’s never been more crucial to fortify connectivity solutions.

As multiple sources have pointed out, one of the major pain points regarding the combination of telecommuting and productivity is communication; that is, being able to disseminate time-sensitive analyses and proposals effectively. Again, there is a non-zero probability that Amazon should find its investment dollars well spent regarding AWS.

But before you go jumping aboard AMZN stock, it’s important to consider the other side of the story.

Loss of Telecommuting Confidence Could Hurt Amazon

While workers appear to unanimously love remote operations, it might be coming to an end. For instance, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) signaled that for certain locales, it’s going to end its voluntary work-from-home option.

Of course, at scale, that would be a bummer for remote workers who have grown accustomed to the blending of their professional and personal lives. But it might not be a great situation for AMZN stock as well.

Here’s the reality. Just several months prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, an increasing number of major corporations which had earlier experimented with telecommuting had a change of heart, recalling their workers. Some of the speculated reasons why include challenges with productivity and keeping workers accountable.

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AMZN stock price chart
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Now, if major businesses didn’t trust their remote workers under normal circumstances, why would they trust them under a chaotic backdrop like Covid-19 or the war in Ukraine? It’s just science — chaos begets more chaos, not order.

Thus, if people move back into the offices, it could impose downwind obstacles for AMZN stock. For one thing, consumers won’t have as much free time on their hands (because it may be sucked in by the morning and evening commutes). Another thing, with folks in centralized locations, the urgent need for connectivity solutions would presumably diminish.

Use Sound Judgment

While the upcoming Amazon reverse stock split is an interesting headline, it’s probably not a matter that would appreciably move the needle for a blue-chip organization, especially one of the e-commerce firm’s caliber. Instead, you should focus on the central fundamentals of AMZN stock.

Currently, there’s a lot to like here. However, there could be a lot more to like should AMZN stock incur a discount from its lofty heights. And what could spark such a discount? A return to normal in the professional sphere.

Therefore, I’d keep close tabs on the broader telecommuting initiative. If more companies recall their workers, that might spell some nearer-term challenges for AMZN stock.

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

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