Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is back in the quadruple digits. Shares of the leading online retailer closed above $1,000 for the past three trading days. The catalyst, clearly, is the market's fascination and support of the head-turning $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM).
Closing above a meaty milestone is nice, but it's not the first time that Amazon is trading at these levels. The dot-com darling broke through that ceiling three weeks ago, going on to close above $1,000 for five consecutive trading days before buckling back under. We're now above that headline-attracting mark for the second time, and investors may be right to wonder if the gains will actually stick this time.
Some analysts feel that a cool grand isn't enough. Tom Forte at Maxim boosted his price target on Amazon from $1,075 to $1,300 shortly after it cracked $1,000 the first time around. Several other Wall Street pros have adjusted to the new normal, boosting their price goals north of $1,000.
Forte's bullish update was lofty. He singled out several business categories with global total addressable markets exceeding $1 trillion where Amazon can make a difference, including some -- credit, pharmacy, gas stations, and travel -- that the retail juggernaut has yet to enter in a meaningful way. In short, analysts often find themselves having to go to great lengths to justify Amazon's current market valuation.
Amazon's an anomaly. It would be hard to imagine anyone offering to pay a 27% premium for an out-of-favor upscale grocer and see its own stock go higher, especially in the bricks-and-mortar niche that it seems to have permanently upended. However, Amazon is given the benefit of the doubt -- or the benefit of the rout, one might say -- because CEO Jeff Bezos always seems to be several steps ahead of conventional market thinking.
Amazon's had an amazing run in its first 20 years as a public company, a devilishly good 666-bagger since going public at a split-adjusted price of $1.50 as it crosses the $1,000 mark. This doesn't mean that it won't fall back into the triple digits, as it did exactly that after Forte's bullish treatise earlier this month. The stock market corrects, and Amazon's volatility cuts both ways.
There are a few factors that can nip Amazon's recent three-day rally above $1,000 short, including a seemingly implausible bidding war breaking out for Whole Foods Market or a more likely general market correction. Amazon has never moved up in a straight line, and never will. Bearish naysayers with sound overvaluation arguments will leave their marks. However, betting against Amazon for the long haul has been dangerous. There will come a point where Amazon stays in the four figures or at least the equivalent of that after the inevitable stock split, but that moment doesn't have to be now for the market darling to keep its Teflon coating intact.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.