The Exchange

Amazon.com Rolls Out MatchBook to Little Fanfare

The Exchange

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Beth Gaston is Managing Editor of Digital Content with Schaeffer’s Investment Research. Beth has been recognized as a "Woman in Finance" by Money Show Digest and her market comments have appeared in several media outlets, including Dow Jones Newswires, MarketWatch, Money Show Digest, OptionsHouse.com, and Reuters.

When Amazon.com (AMZN) unveiled its MatchBook program last month, readers with a shelf full of books and a shiny new Kindle (myself included) were excited. The announcement implied that Amazon customers who had previously purchased an old-fashioned paper copy of a book would be able to scoop up the digital version for no more than $2.99.

Well, MatchBook has officially launched, but the response has been unenthusiastic at best. The online retailing giant hasn't gotten the needed buy-in from all publishers, resulting in a selection one reporter called "70,000 shades of blah," and lacking in popular authors such as Stephen King and Mark Twain.

The muted response to this new service hasn't seemed to impact Amazon shares, however, which continue to sit near all-time highs following last Friday's earnings-related spike higher. The stock is presently perched at $362.94, up nearly 44% so far this year.

The options trading crowd, however, has been hesitant to board the bullish bandwagon. Over the past couple of months, the number of puts (bearish bets) being purchased has slightly exceeded the number of calls (bullish wagers). In other words, speculators are still betting against the stock, even as it explores new all-time high territory. This could be a bullish contrarian sign, as it suggests not everyone has yet bought into the rally, meaning potential buying power remains to help power further gains in AMZN shares.

Wall Street, on the other hand, is pretty optimistic. The large majority of the analysts covering the stock have rated it a "buy" or "strong buy," reducing the odds of additional upgrades. Price-target hikes aren't out of the question, however, as analysts could opt to follow in the footsteps of a number of firms (including UBS and Bernstein) that increased their 12-month outlook on the stock in the wake of last week's earnings report.

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