Barclays Capital raised profit estimate of online retailer Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), citing strong online holiday season.
The brokerage raised its fourth-quarter earnings forecast to 86 cents a share from 79 cents a share and revenue expectations to $13 billion from $12.6 billion. Wall Street expects earnings of 88 cents a share on revenue of $12.85 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Data from comScore, Channel Advisor, Chase Paymentech, and others supports robust online holiday sales and Amazon-specific trends.
Online spending in the United States rose 12 percent to $27.5 billion till date this holiday shopping season compared with the year-ago levels, according to the latest report from research firm comScore.
With less than a week to go for Christmas, Free Shipping surge remained strong during the final online sales push, the research firm said.
..we believe the online holiday season has been strong and Amazon continues to gain share both online and offline, Barclays analyst Douglas Anmuth, who has an overweight rating on the stock, wrote in a note to clients.
We believe Amazon is seeing particular strength in EGM (Electronics & General Merchandise)-including the Kindle-and eBooks, said Anmuth, who also raised his price target on Amazon stock to $195 from $180.
The company recently indicated it has sold millions of Kindles in the fourth quarter, more than in all of 2009.
Additionally, the analyst believe the extension of Free Super Saver Shipping through Dec. 19 enabled Amazon to capture a greater share of holiday sales over this past weekend and made the site more competitive with traditional retail for gift purchases taking place just one week before Christmas.
Meanwhile, Dec. 19 is the latest deadline Amazon has ever offered for free shipping in time for Christmas and compares to Dec. 17 in 2009. The extended free shipping deadline is another example of how Amazon continues to raise the bar versus both online and offline competition, the analyst said.
Free Shipping Day achieved a 61 percent rise versus the same day of last year, with more than 1,500 merchants offered free shipping, comScore said.
From November 1 to December 17, four individual days surpassed $900 million, led by Green Monday on December 13 with $954 million and Free Shipping Day on December 17 with $942 million, according to comScore.
Free Shipping Day punctuated an exceptional week in which consumers spent more than $5.5 billion online, representing a 14 percent increase from last year, comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said.
We have likely already witnessed the peak spending day of the year, which means that Cyber Monday should emerge as the season's heaviest online spending day for the first time in history, said Fulgoni.
comScore said purchases of handheld devices such as Apple iPads and e-readers and laptop computers drove a 25 percent growth in computer hardware.
Shares of Seattle, Washington-based Amazon closed Mondays' regular trading session at $183.29 on Nasdaq.