2018 may have marked the fall of the FAANGs as a group, but Amazon (AMZN) has still held up relatively well given the negative systematic factors of the past few months. Yes, it's hard to ignore that the stock is down around 24% from its early September peak at $2050, and that the current price is not far above the stock's November trough. But considering the prolonged period of high volatility and sharp declines seen in both the overall equity markets as well as the retail sector, Amazon stock is still up impressively year to date.
The period from the beginning of October to now has obviously not been a good time to be long stocks. And Amazon has been no exception. But long-term AMZN investors have still been very well-rewarded this year, as the stock has climbed over 32% since January (as of Tuesday's market close), even after taking into account the steep fourth-quarter slide.
As for the retail sector (represented by the SPDR S&P Retail ETF, XRT), returns have been abysmal at -8% year to date. (The S&P 500 as a whole is not doing much better at nearly -5% YTD.) The XRT ETF holds many major retail stocks – its top five holdings are Nutrisystem, AutoZone, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Casey's General Stores, and Kroger. Amazon.com is not one of them. The long-held notion that Amazon is killing retail may not be too off the mark.
From a technical analysis perspective, although Amazon's stock is down sharply and obviously weak compared to its own past highs, it's still showing clear relative strength against both the overall market as well as the retail sector. Both the S&P 500 and XRT have hit lower lows in the past few days, while AMZN has not yet broken down to hit a new low. This further displays Amazon's resilience under pressure and its comparative appeal as a potential long-term investment.