3 reasons to buy Amazon stock right now

The tech giant is trading at a much cheaper valuation than usual.

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This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

The post-COVID slowdown hasn't been kind to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), and the stock is down 45% so far this year. While the company's e-commerce operations are experiencing weak growth and margins, Amazon is much more than just an online retailer. Let's explore three potentially overlooked factors that could make the stock a buy for long-term investors

Cloud computing is Amazon's new backbone 

Amazon's third-quarter results were a mixed bag. Revenue grew by 15% year over year to $127.1 billion, but operating income almost halved to $2.5 billion because of challenges like inflation and overexpansion during the pandemic boom of 2020 and 2021. But while its North American and international e-commerce segments are both bleeding cash -- with operating losses of $400 million and $2.5 billion, respectively -- its cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), is helping to pick up the slack. 

AWS segment revenue increased by 27% to $20.5 billion while its operating income jumped 11% to $5.4 billion. With both of Amazon's e-commerce segments burning cash, AWS is now Amazon's foundation. And investors may be overlooking its value. According to analysts at equity research firm Redburn, AWS alone could be on track for a $3 trillion valuation and could be spun off to unlock a better valuation. 

While Redburn's predictions are admittedly optimistic and don't come with a concrete timeframe, they do highlight the huge potential many industry watchers see in Amazon's cloud offering because of its economic moat, which includes a strong brand and economies of scale. The company is using these advantages to attract new clients such as power company Duke Energy, which entered a three-year cloud deal with AWS in November to modernize its electric grid.

Film entertainment could help too

First an online bookstore, then an e-commerce giant, and now the global leader in cloud computing -- Amazon is no stranger to reinventing itself. And while cloud computing looks likely to power most of the company's valuation growth, other business segments could also contribute. 

In November, Amazon announced plans to spend $1 billion a year to produce 12 to 15 movies that it will release in theatres annually. This decision comes in the wake of its March acquisition of Hollywood studio MGM, and could help lay the groundwork for the company to become a fully-fledged entertainment giant that can compete with the likes of Walt Disney.

The new content will also help create a competitive advantage for Amazon Prime, which includes a video-streaming service. 

Management hasn't provided guidance on how much revenue it expects Amazon's film production efforts to generate. But if it's successful, it could provide some much-needed diversification and growth to counteract the slowdown in the company's retail operations. 

Amazon's valuation is still reasonable

Amazon's significant stock declines have made the company more interesting for value-hungry investors. And while the company is far from distressed territory, its price-to-sales ratio of 1.9 is lower than the S&P 500's average of 2.4. And while Amazon's bottom line remains under pressure in the near term, continued growth in AWS and new business could help turn things around in the coming years.

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Will Ebiefung has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Amazon and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended Duke Energy and has recommended the following options: long January 2024 $145 calls on Walt Disney and short January 2024 $155 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Amazon and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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