Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Put Buyers First? What a Concept

When I spoke to analysts and investors, they had all kinds of reasons for Amazon’s performance last year. “They finally reached a point where their R&D spending was not expanding as fast as their revenues,” said Citigroup’s Mark S. Mahaney. He and others also talked about Amazon’s success in international markets, its fast-growing (and high margin) merchant market, which allows merchants to sell goods alongside Amazon, and its rapidly expanding Web services business. Mostly, though, the investing community pointed to those healthier margins as the main reason for the stock’s run-up. Legg Mason’s legendary fund manager, Bill Miller, who has made a small fortune for his investors by betting big on Amazon, told me that “Wall Street is almost fanatically focused on margin expansion and contraction.”
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