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Why Amazon Stock Dropped Today

Motley Fool - Mon Mar 7, 11:59AM CST

What happened

Shares of Amazon(NASDAQ: AMZN) stock tumbled today on some very curious news: Analyst company J.P. Morgan released a note (reported on that named Amazon the bank's "top internet idea."

Amazon stock fell 4% through 12:30 p.m. ET.

Glowing red arrow trending down on a stock chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Does that make sense?

Sorta-kinda yes. According to J.P. Morgan's note, the Department of Commerce estimated that fourth-quarter e-commerce sales in the United States were only $257.6 billion, which was below J.P. Morgan's own prediction of $270 billion -- which sounds like bad news, and may have spooked investors.

But here's the thing: This isn't "new" news. The report on e-commerce revenue came out more than two weeks ago, on Feb. 18. So if investors are getting upset about it, they're late to the game today. (On the other hand, J.P. Morgan up and reminding them on the disappointment today may not have helped.)

Now what

That being said, here are two big things to keep in mind: First, J.P. Morgan notes that that while part of the decline in e-commerce spending was due to a "continued resurgence of brick and mortar retail sales," which may indicate a shift in consumer spending away from Amazon, the "ongoing supply chain headwinds" were also a factor, and those will subside in time. Long-term, J.P. Morgan still sees a trend toward increased penetration of e-commerce into overall consumer spending.

Second and even more important: While we all quite naturally think of Amazon as an e-commerce company -- an online merchant -- as time goes on, e-commerce is becoming less and less important to Amazon's profits. Fact is, according to the latest data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, Amazon now gets an astounding $18.5 billion of its operating profits not from e-commerce, but from Amazon Web Services cloud computing. That's 74% of Amazon's profits -- nearly three times as much profit as the company makes from e-commerce.

Viewed in that light, Q4's national e-commerce revenue "miss" looks less like a mortal threat to Amazon and more like a rounding error.

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JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.