It’s an epic tale of David versus Goliath in the e-commerce world.
Online retailing sites Wayfair and Etsy are running circles around Amazon this year. Shares are up 66 and 18 percent respectively, compared with Amazon’s 9 percent gain. In addition, Amazon rival Walmart reported a 43 percent growth in online sales during the fourth quarter.
The Street is split on whether investors should bet on Goliath (Amazon) or David (Wayfair). Piper Jaffray’s Craig Johnson is in Wayfair’s corner, while Strategic Wealth Partners’ Mark Tepper is sticking with Amazon.
“If you look at a chart of Wayfair, I’m still going to be a buyer of this chart,” Johnson said Friday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “You’re still in an uptrend off the 2014 lows. … I like buying stocks that are breaking out to new highs.”
Friday was Wayfair’s best day on record. The stock soared as much as 30 percent, rocketing to a new high following a revenue beat and a 15 percent increase in active customers. Wayfair was up 0.2 percent in Monday’s premarket, while Amazon shares rose nearly 1 percent.
While some investors might see this as a selling opportunity to lock in gains, Johnson notes that from a technical standpoint, the stock hasn’t reached an overbought level, meaning there’s still upside ahead.
He’s not so optimistic when it comes to Amazon, saying it’s a hold right now. While he believes that the stock is ultimately “very much in an uptrend,” he doesn’t think the picture is as rosy in the nearer term.
Amazon “is now consolidating sideways below its 200-day moving average, not anywhere close to making new highs at this point in time and not really having the momentum as to what you’re seeing right now with Wayfair,” he said.
Strategic Wealth Partners’ Mark Tepper, on the other hand, likes Amazon over Wayfair since he believes Amazon’s diversified business model and range of retail goods sets it up to outperform no matter the economic backdrop.
“At this stage of the economic cycle, let’s call it the 8th inning, I would rather own the favorites right now than the underdogs,” he said.
He notes that Wayfair is doing a “great job gaining market share” and “disrupting” the home furnishings market, but he also points out that the sector is susceptible to economic conditions. If the consumer is not strong, for instance, people will cut out discretionary expenses like furniture.
Tepper likes Amazon given its diverse platform that includes “lower cost items” that consumers will not nix when the next recession hits, and because of the company’s push into the high-margin cloud business.
“When the economy slows, I would rather own the e-commerce retailer that offers the lower-cost items that also has the $25 billion a year cloud business that’s growing at over 40 percent a year to help them weather the storm,” he said.
Disclosure: Strategic Wealth Partners owns shares of Amazon.