SAN FRANCISCO — All those TVs, books, Echos, diapers and water filters have sent Amazon stock to the stratosphere. Wall Street thinks it can go to the moon.
Eleven analysts forecast this week that Amazon (AMZN) will hit $1,000 a share in 2018, with nine of them forecasting it will go even higher, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Among the most rosy — a prediction of $1,250 — would amount to a nearly 40% surge from Tuesday's price of $902.
The lowest predictions were for $850 and $895, but most were in the $900 to $995 range.
If the stock ran up that far, Amazon would be worth a whopping $596.6 billion in market capitalization, outpacing Microsoft and Google's parent company Alphabet—but still well below Apple, currently the world's most valuable company, worth $742 billion.
It would also put Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in spitting range of the title of world's richest person, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who's ranked No. 1 on the Bloomberg Billionaire Index with personal wealth worth $86.4 billion. Bezos, estimated to be worth $78.2 billion, has said he plans to sell $1 billion a year in Amazon stock to fund his Blue Origin commercial space ventures.
The reasons Wall Street is convinced Amazon's stock will continue to shoot for the stars include the company's continued, enviable growth. Brokerage Piper Jaffray forecast Amazon will hit $1,000 in part because of the deep penetration its Amazon Prime service is making in the United States, estimating that the service added 10 million more households in the past year, a 20% year-over-year growth rate.
That fits with data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners in Chicago, which in October said Prime has 65 million U.S. members, who spend on average about $1,200 per year, compared to about $600 per year for non-member customers. CIRP estimates that 52% of all Amazon customers in the United States are Prime members.
While $1,000 a share is rare among U.S. companies, since they tend to engage in stock splits to make it easier to buy shares, four other companies' shares have already rocketed into deep space.
Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares were trading at $248,601 on Tuesday, while Seaboard Corp., an agribusiness and transportation company, was trading at $4,039, homebuilder NVR Inc. at $2,112.08 and travel company The Priceline Group at $1,768.
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