Investing in Amazon Stock (AMZN)

What you need to know when investing in Amazon Inc. (AMZN), one of the largest companies in the world, is a global leader in ecommerce and cloud computing. The company operates an online marketplace offering a vast variety of products mostly from other merchants, including electronics, apparel, furniture, food, and toys. It also offers video- and music-streaming services. Amazon’s cloud services platform hosts online applications for a broad range of customers.

Founded in 1994, Amazon started out as an online bookstore. But its founder and former chief executive officer (CEO), Jeff Bezos, envisioned Amazon as more than merely an online retailer. Instead, Bezos saw Amazon as a technology company with a competitive advantage of making online transactions simpler for consumers. Amazon shares began trading following an initial public offering (IPO) in May 1997. Its stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

Amazon has long been based in Seattle. In 2018, it unveiled plans for a “second headquarters” in Arlington, Va., which is slated to open in 2023. Andy Jassy has been the ecommerce giant’s CEO since succeeding Bezos in July 2021. Bezos remains as executive chair.

Amazon is grouped with consumer discretionary stocks for investing purposes, though it is also included in many mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) focused on the technology sector in recognition of Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) status as a leading cloud computing provider. The company’s main competitors include brick-and-mortar retailers like Walmart Inc. (WMT), ecommerce platform operator eBay Inc. (EBAY), and cloud computing services rivals Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL).

Amazon posted net income of $33.4 billion on net sales of $469.8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2021, which ended Dec. 31, 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon is an online retailer, streaming services provider, and cloud computing company.
  • Its rivals include Walmart, eBay, Microsoft, and Google parent Alphabet.
  • Amazon earned $33.4 billion in net income on net sales of $469.8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2021.
  • On Jan. 4, 2023, Amazon announced it will lay off 18,000 workers, significantly more than previously expected.

Amazon’s Recent Developments

  • On Jan. 4, 2023, Amazon announced it would be laying off 18,000 employees, significantly more than previously expected.
  • On Nov. 14, 2022, news leaked that Amazon was planning to lay off 10,000 employees, or 3% of its corporate labor force. Amazon confirmed this officially on Nov. 16.

What’s happening with the Amazon union votes?

On April 1, 2022, workers at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, N.Y., elected the recently formed Amazon Labor Union to represent them in collective bargaining, the first successful unionization effort at an Amazon facility.

On April 8, 2022, Amazon filed a motion with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking it to invalidate the Staten Island election results, alleging legal violations by union backers and bias in favor of the union by the NLRB’s regional office.

On April 9, 2022, the NLRB said workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama rejected union representation on March 31, in an election rerun because the NLRB ruled that the company improperly interfered with the first vote.

On April 18, 2022, an administrative law judge ruled that Amazon illegally fired an Amazon Labor Union organizer from his job at the Staten Island warehouse in 2020 in retaliation for protected organizing activities.

On April 25, 2022, workers at a second Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, LDJ5, began voting on union representation. However, the effort to unionize the Staten Island warehouse failed, with 618 employees voting against joining the union and 380 for, according to results released by the NLRB on May 2, 2022.

What’s happening with Amazon’s product recall?

In mid-July 2021, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sued Amazon to force it to recall hazardous products sold on its marketplace by independent merchants. The products included 24,000 faulty carbon monoxide detectors, 400,000 hair dryers sold without the required immersion protection devices to guard against electrocution risk, and an unspecified number of children’s sleepwear garments that failed to meet mandated flammability standards.

While Amazon removed some of the hazardous product listings, notified purchasers that they presented a hazard, and offered a refund in the form of an Amazon gift card, it failed to comply with all the requirements imposed by the CPSC on product distributors, including issuing an agency-approved recall notice specifying the hazards, tracking product returns, and documenting the destruction of hazardous products, Amazon contended that it was a third-party logistics supplier exempted from CPSC distributor rules.

On Jan. 19, 2022, an administrative law judge ruled that Amazon must comply with CPSC distributor rules because it handles functions that qualify it as such, including decisions on product returns and consumer refunds.

What’s happening with the antitrust lawsuits against Amazon?

On March 18, 2022, a U.S. Superior Court judge dismissed an antitrust lawsuit filed against Amazon by the attorney general for the District of Columbia, ruling that the suit failed to show that Amazon’s agreements with third-party merchants obligating them to price their products on Amazon no higher than they do elsewhere serves to increase consumer prices.

On April 13, 2022, the attorney general for the District of Columbia sought reconsideration of the ruling, arguing that the agreements allow Amazon to charge higher fees for third-party listings than other online marketplaces, because merchants can’t pass on the lower listing fees to consumers.

On March 11, 2022, a U.S. District Court judge in Washington state refused to dismiss a class action suit against Amazon over the same most favored nation pricing rules, brought by two frequent Amazon shoppers and several law firms.

What’s happening with Amazon’s acquisition of MGM?

On March 17, 2022, Amazon said it completed its acquisition for $8.45 billion of MGM, along with its catalog of more than 4,000 films and 17,000 TV shows. MGM was not the same company as MGM Resorts International (MGM).

The acquisition, announced on May 26, 2021, was Amazon’s second-largest after its $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods in 2017, and will allow the company to augment its video-streaming offerings. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which closely scrutinized the deal, reportedly did not attempt to block it because its four commissioners were split along party lines on the matter.

Has Amazon ever split its AMZN stock?

Amazon has split its stock four times. The first three stock splits took place in its first two years as a public company, and the fourth more than 20 years later, as follows:

  • June 2, 1998: a 2-for-1 split
  • Jan. 5, 1999: a 3-for-1 split
  • Sept. 1, 1999: a 2-for-1 split
  • June 3, 2022: a 20-for-1 split

Does AMZN pay a dividend?

No, it does not pay a dividend.

How many shares of AMZN stock are there?

As of Oct. 19, 2022, Amazon had 10.2 billion shares outstanding.

Who is Amazon’s chief executive officer (CEO)?

Andy Jassy succeeded founder Jeff Bezos as CEO on July 5, 2021. Jassy is also a member of the board of directors, where Bezos is executive chair.

Jassy founded Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s highly profitable and fast-growing cloud computing platform. He was CEO of AWS from April 2016 until July 2021.

Jassy has been with Amazon since 1997.

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is Amazon’s big annual sale event for Amazon Prime subscribers. In 2021, Amazon held its Prime Day event June 21–22, offering discounts on more than 2 million product items.

Article Sources
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  7., via U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended Dec. 31, 2021,” Page 37.

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  10. National Labor Relations Board. “ Services LLC’s Objections to the Results of the Election.” (Download PDF.)

  11. National Labor Relations Board. “Notice of Second Election.” (Download PDF.)

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  13. National Labor Relations Board. “Administrative Law Judge’s Decision, Case No. 29-CA-261755.” (Download PDF.)

  14. National Labor Relations Board. “Notice of Election.” (Download PDF.)

  15. National Labor Relations Board. “Region 29—Brooklyn Announces Results of LDJ5 Amazon Ballot Count.”

  16. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. “CPSC Sues Amazon to Force Recall of Hazardous Products Sold on”

  17. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. “Order on Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Decision.”

  18. Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia. “District of Columbia’s Opposed Motion for Reconsideration, or in the Alternative, for Leave to Amend the Complaint or for a Written Order of Decision.”

  19. Justia. “Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim.”

  20. Bloomberg Law News. “Amazon Loses Antitrust Ruling in Consumer ‘Fair Pricing’ Case.”

  21. About Amazon, Press Center. “Amazon and MGM Have Signed an Agreement for Amazon to Acquire MGM.”

  22. About Amazon. “MGM Joins Prime Video and Amazon Studios.”

  23. Politico. “U.S. Antitrust Enforcers Won’t Challenge Amazon’s MGM Deal, Dashing Hopes of Monopoly Critics.”

  24. About Amazon, Investor Relations. “FAQs: When Did Amazon’s Stock Split?

  25. About Amazon, Investor Relations. “FAQs: Does Amazon Distribute Dividends?

  26., via U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “Form 10-Q for the Quarterly Period Ended September 30, 2022,” Page 1.

  27. About Amazon, Investor Relations. “Officers and Directors: Andy Jassy.”

  28. About Amazon, Press Center. “Prime Day Arrives on June 21 & 22—Two Days of Epic Savings on More than 2 Million Deals Globally.”

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