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Why Stock Climbed 14% Last Month

By Jeremy Bowman – Updated Apr 10, 2019 at 10:29AM

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A market recovery, strong macro numbers, and dovish Fed actions all propelled the e-commerce giant higher in January.

What happened

Shares of (AMZN -0.77%) continued to bounce back from their December lows last month, rising on a number of macroeconomic factors and anticipation of the company's fourth-quarter earnings report. Though there was no single factor that pushed the stock higher last month, shares still finished up 14%, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence

As the chart below shows, the stock's gain came primarily from two surges at the beginning and end of the month.

AMZN Chart

AMZN data by YCharts.

So what 

During the fourth quarter, Amazon stock plunged along with much of the market, but the stock surged from the market bottom on Dec. 24 into the first week of the new year.

An Amazon employee in a fulfillment center

At an Amazon fulfillment center. Image source: Amazon.

The e-commerce giant benefited from the shift in investor sentiment and from a report that U.S online sales rose 19% over the holiday season, according to data from Mastercard SpendingPulse. 

Amazon stock rose 9% over two sessions from Jan. 4 to 7 as the stock got a boost from a strong jobs report, dovish comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, and progress in trade talks with China. All of those factors provided tailwinds, and helped to reassure investors that a recession was unlikely after fears of a market downturn increased at the end of last year.

Then toward the end of the month, the stock spiked again as the Fed said on Jan. 30 that it would refrain from any more rate hikes for the foreseeable future. That momentum carried over to the next day in anticipation of the company's earnings report after hours on Jan. 31. The stock gained 8% from Jan. 30 to 31.

Check out the latest Amazon earnings call transcript.

Now what 

Amazon stock actually sold off after its earnings report came out, falling 5.4% as its first-quarter guidance was underwhelming in spite of the fact that the company beat earnings and revenue estimates in the fourth quarter.

Amazon's once-blockbuster revenue growth is beginning to slow for a number of reasons, so investors will look closely at its profit growth since the company will need to grow earnings fast enough to justify its P/E of 82. As the post-earnings sell-off indicates, the market clearly has doubts about that for now.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Jeremy Bowman owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Mastercard. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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