CS First Boston Downgrades Amazon.com

Analyst Heath Terry notes a decline in gross margins and the company's increased investment plans

Amazon.com (AMZN ) posted 82 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share. CS First Boston downgraded the shares to neutral from outperform.

Analyst Heath Terry says Amazon's $2.54 billion fourth-quarter revenue was at the top end of its $2.295 billion to $2.545 billion guidance, and above his $2.36 billion estimate. He notes an $85 million forex benefit. Terry says excluding deferred tax benefit, the 36 cents pro forma EPS was below his 42-cent estimate. The analyst says the year-over-year decline is due primarily to greater adoption of free shipping worldwide, lower product pricing, changes in the product mix, and growth in international business. He updated his model to account for the decline in gross margins and Amazon's increased investment plans. Terry cut his 29-cent first-quarter pro forma EPS estimate to 23 cents and his $1.30 forecast for 2005 to $1.10. He also lowered his $54 target price for the stock to $40.

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