This week marks a critical time for tech as a handful of America's most powerful corporations are set to report their most recent quarterly earnings results. Ahead of e-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) Q1 results slated for Thursday after the closing bell, one analyst on the Street is erring on the side of caution, reflecting a rare sentiment among the Street’s die-hard Amazon bulls. (See also: Tech Still Reigns Over the Market: Credit Suisse.)
In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Piper Jaffray Chief Market Technician Craig Johnson expressed concerns when looking at the Seattle-based retailer's chart. He noted that "there's a lot of good news priced into Amazon right now," as the stock sharply outperforms the market, up 27.4% year-to-date (YTD) and 64.1% over 12 months at a price of $1.491.46 on Tuesday morning.
"I get nervous when you start getting stocks that are more than 20 percent above their 200-day moving averages and that's exactly what you have with Amazon right now." AMZN is trading around 27% above its 200-day moving average and has not crossed below that support level in two years, noted CNBC. “You've got a divergence between the overall relative strength index and price. That suggests to me a little bit of an easing in momentum,” added the technical analyst.
Betting on 'A Lot of Good News'
"A lot of things are going to have to really come through well for Amazon to keep the stock moving higher here," said Johnson.
The Piper Jaffray technician pointed to Netflix Inc.'s (NFLX) chart as an example of a FAANG peer who posted great results last week and is still struggling to push past its highs around $333. "Great earnings" and "great numbers" alongside an inability to break through recent highs suggests a "little bit of exhaustion" in NFLX stock, according to Johnson, who also recommends taking caution with shares of the leading on-demand streaming service.
Earlier this month, Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson reiterated his overweight rating on AMZN stock, yet noted that retail results in Q1 could fall short of the Street's lofty expectations. That being said, strength in the retailer's burgeoning public cloud platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), should propel to the stock to reach his price target of $1,650. "We believe AWS could partially offset any softness in retail," said Olson. "We also believe there's a high likelihood of 'other' segment revenue upside from advertising." (See also: Apple Vs. Facebook: May the Best Stock Win.)