The e-commerce behemoth Amazon (AMZN:NSD) finds itself entangled in another legal dispute. The problem stems from its use of “Project Nessie,” a contentious algorithm at the heart of an ongoing monopoly lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). A recent Wall Street Journal report has uncovered censored portions of the lawsuit, shedding light on Amazon’s utilization of the algorithm to gauge the extent to which it could hike prices. Amazon intended to encourage competitors to follow suit. This article will highlight the impact of this lawsuit on Amazon stock forecast.
Project Nessie Algorithm:
According to the claims put forth in the lawsuit, the “Project Nessie” algorithm played a pivotal role in amassing over $1 billion in additional revenue for Amazon. The lawsuit further alleges that Amazon’s dominance in the online marketplace has compelled competitors to mimic its pricing strategies. Notably, if competitors failed to align their prices with Amazon’s, the algorithm would automatically adjust prices back to regular levels.
In response to these allegations, an Amazon spokesperson negated any wrongdoing. He stated”Project Nessie aimed to prevent unsustainable price reductions but failed, leading to its discontinuation.
Currently, Amazon faces one of the most significant antitrust cases in U.S. history, brought forth by the FTC. Throughout the legal battle, Amazon has staunchly denied any misconduct, asserting that monopolistic practices would contradict its commitment to offering competitive prices. The FTC, on the other hand, contends that Amazon’s influence over third-party sellers contributes to inflated selling prices, not only on the platform but also across other retailers and the sellers’ own websites. Furthermore, Amazon is alleged to employ punitive measures against third-party merchants that sell items at lower prices elsewhere.
Amazon’s Dominance in Third-Party Sales:
Amazon’s share of the pie from third-party sellers has been steadily increasing, with reports suggesting that a substantial majority of the company’s retail sales come from these merchants. The platform’s vast reach, extensive logistics network, and market dominance serve as compelling reasons for merchants to continue their association with Amazon. The outcome of this ongoing lawsuit remains uncertain, and further revelations are expected to emerge as proceedings continue.
Amazon Stock Forecast in Jeopardy:
Amazon’s stock currently faces multiple challenges that are exerting downward pressure. Factors such as reduced consumer spending, increased delivery costs due to rising fuel prices, and the looming anti-monopoly lawsuit have all played a role in the company’s recent performance.
Analysts Remain Bullish:
Despite these challenges, two analysts have recently reiterated their Buy ratings for AMZN stock, with a shared price target of $180, representing a potential upside of 44.3%. Mizuho Securities analyst James Lee is particularly bullish on Amazon’s Cloud segment, AWS. His recent assessments indicate growing demand and spending on cloud services, suggesting Amazon is well-positioned to reap the benefits.
J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth echoes this optimism, especially with regard to AWS and Amazon’s retail operations. He cites the upcoming holiday season, the two-day Prime sale, and the availability of same-day delivery options as pivotal drivers of Amazon’s growth. Anmuth also expresses support for Amazon in the context of the ongoing FTC lawsuit.
Amazon Stock Forecast:
Based on Amazon stock forecast from 44 analysts, the average target price is USD 153.81. The consensus rating is “Strong Buy”, reflecting positive sentiment among analysts. Stock Target Advisor’s analysts are Neutral, factoring in 6 positive signals and 6 negative signals.
AMZN’s Market Performance:
At the last closing, the stock price was USD 124.72. This price has changed -1.00% over the past week, -9.70% over the past month and +7.63% over the last year.
Amazon’s legal battle over Project Nessie continues to be a subject of intense scrutiny, with implications for its stock performance. Despite the legal challenges and market headwinds, some analysts remain bullish on the company’s prospects, citing key growth drivers in the Cloud segment and the upcoming holiday season. However, the final verdict on Amazon’s legal woes remains uncertain, making it a closely watched situation for investors and observers alike.