By Emily Bary
Amazon just added a new board member with healthcare expertise
Amazon.com Inc. just added a new board member with healthcare expertise, and that's fueling optimism for its stock.
The company announced late Wednesday that Brad D. Smith, a former Intuit Inc. (INTU) chief executive and current Humana Inc. (HUM) director, would be joining Amazon's (AMZN) board of directors.
The appointment is "indicative of the company taking another step towards advancing its healthcare related efforts," DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte said in a note to clients. Add in Smith's Intuit background, and his arrival on the board "is likely consistent with the company's view that it intends to exploit the healthcare opportunity through an emphasis on its acumen in technology."
Forte calculates a more than 10% chance that healthcare efforts boost Amazon's revenue growth by 1 percentage point in 2016. The company has various healthcare initiatives, including in primary care with One Medical, though Forte thinks the pharmacy sector offers the most potential.
He has a buy rating and $150 target price on Amazon shares, though he said last week that the stock could be worth as much as $193 in a break-up scenario, given regulatory interest in the company.
Amazon shares were trading at $145.38 in Thursday's session, up 0.4% and on track to log their highest close since April 25, 2022, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The stock closed $146.07 then.
Read:Here's Amazon's path to a $200 stock price, according to one bull
Morgan Stanley's Brian Nowak also weighed in positively on Amazon's stock in a report put out at Wednesday's close, though not based on the company's healthcare ambitions.
Nowak joined numerous other analysts who've recently cheered Amazon's margin potential in its retail business.
"We believe management is highly focused on improving efficiency and profitability... and demonstrating to investors that their business model can indeed deliver [return on investment after two challenging years," Nowak said.
He's upbeat about the company's ability to lower shipment and fulfillment costs, control content costs and ultimately improve margins on first-party sales.
Nowak has an overweight rating and $175 target price on Amazon shares, though he sees the potential for a $160 to $230 stock price if the name were to fetch a higher price/earnings-to-growth [PEG] ratio.
See also: Why Amazon is this analyst's top internet stock pick
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September 15, 2023 08:37 ET (12:37 GMT)
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