Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2 Threats to's Future Growth

When a company is expected to grow earnings by 40% plus over the next several years, any threat to this earnings growth should be carefully considered by investors. Though Buy seems to want to be everything to everyone, there are at least two major threats that could hurt this company's potential.

A well-known issue everyone seems to ignore
There should be little doubt that one of the prime reasons many people shop online is to avoid paying sales tax at the point of sale. Though some believe that Amazon's competitive advantage is convenience, the economy of the last several years has taught many people to watch every dollar they spend.

It just makes good sense that if a consumer can buy the exact same product from Amazon and avoid paying sales tax they will do so. To combat this challenge, companies like Wal-Mart Stores are willing to continually cut prices to compete with their online counterparts. Though size clearly plays a part, Wal-Mart's U.S. sales growth came in at just 2.4% in the company's last quarter.

With over 4,000 locations domestically, Wal-Mart is probably a better proxy for the domestic marketplace than Amazon. However, there should be little doubt that the ability to avoid sales tax by purchasing on Amazon is hurting the physical retailers' sales.

Though some might believe sales tax won't be an issue, it's hard to ignore the obvious slowdown in Amazon's overall sales growth in concert with more states requiring sales tax be charged to its customers. Currently, 19 states require Amazon customers to pay sales tax. Not coincidentally, Amazon's worldwide trailing 12 month sales growth has slowed sequentially from 29% in the fourth quarter of 2012, to 24% in the fourth quarter of 2013.

As Amazon continues to expand, more states will certainly require sales tax to be collected, or a nationwide online sales tax may become law. This sales tax issue is a huge competitive difference between a company like eBay and Amazon.

Most of eBay's sellers generate less than $1 million in out-of-state revenue, which would exempt them from collecting sales tax under the current version of the bill. In short, eBay could become a haven for tax avoiding customers.

With more than 60% of Amazon's revenue coming from general merchandise and electronic sales, this might be the most significant threat facing the company today.

A Prime concern
A second threat to Amazon's future actually comes from one of the company's most popular features. Amazon Prime members pay $79 per year for many benefits including free two-day shipping and streaming of thousands of instant video titles, this could change in the future.

Amazon has suggested that the Prime service may be too expensive to maintain the $79 annual price. If the company raised the price by $20 to $40 as has been suggested, Amazon could lose a significant portion of its membership.

In fact, a poll by Bizrate Insights of 200 customers found that 46% thought that the existing $79 price for Amazon Prime was too high. It's not hard to imagine these customers choosing to cancel their membership if Amazon goes through with a price hike of at least 25%.

eBay would seem to be a natural destination for jilted Prime members. The company offers a discount on seller's fees if they offer free shipping and meet certain criteria. Though eBay may not show the same type of revenue growth as Amazon, the company's Marketplaces business has consistently grown users at a double-digit rate, and its fixed price merchandise volume increased by 19% on a year-over-year basis.

In addition, if shoppers are looking for convenience, Wal-Mart's vast number of locations in everyday low prices could draw Prime members back into the stores. Wal-Mart could also one up Amazon at its own game by using its store locations as mini shipping warehouses.

Amazon claims that its Prime service has "millions of members." Imagine these customers having to choose whether to pay a higher annual price for Prime, while simultaneously having to pay sales tax on their purchases where they did not before. For a stock that still trades at a forward P/E ratio of more than 180, a continued slowdown in the company's revenue growth could mean the recent hit to the stock price is only the beginning.

The Motley Fool robbed Wall Street, for information
The one sure way to get wealthy is to invest in a groundbreaking company that goes on to dominate a multibillion-dollar industry. Our analysts have done it before with the likes of Amazon and Netflix. And now they think they've done it again with three stock picks that they believe could generate the same type of phenomenal returns. They've revealed these picks in a new free report that you can download instantly by clicking here now.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The TouchArcade Show - 143 - Hodappy Bird Better Be Playable in 'Mikey Flapps'

<Promo Codesimg src="">

This week's podcasts starts with a nice long discussion on emulation, spurred by the recent release of GBA4iOS. From there, we of course talk about the hottest games of the week, including a typical chat on free to play mechanics due to Bug Heroes 2 launching free to play and immediately switching back to paid. All the relevant news is in there too, and we take a break to talk about the Mikey games getting ported to Android.

If you've been having trouble with our podcast feed, it seems like the way to fix it is by unsubscribing and resubscribing in your podcast management app of choice.

Don't forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to We read 'em all, even if they don't make it into the podcast.

As always, you can listen to us with the links below... And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Zune Marketplace: Podcasts
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-143.mp3, 82.8MB

GAMES NEWS This week's episode of The TouchArcade Show is sponsored by...

Epic Ninja Game - Pixel Art Retro Fast Paced 2D Platformer, $1.99 - Epic Ninja Game is a new 2D twitch platformer - a retro blast from the past with its 8-bit sound and pixel art graphics. Play one of 90 levels in 3 exciting worlds. The story is in an action-packed comic book spread across the game. Every world has boss fights and many new ways to die!

Epic Ninja Game is available now on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC. See the trailer and get it now at

West Texas Crude Discount Spurs Unit Train Trips to Gulf Coast

The cost of light crude in West Texas has dropped far enough below Louisiana prices to prompt shippers to move oil to the Gulf Coast by rail.

Refinery maintenance has reduced local demand at the same time as crude output has recovered since the fourth quarter of 2013, when extreme weather caused well freeze-ups. Operations in the Permian Basin have returned to normal, a Jan. 20 statement from Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD) showed.

West Texas Intermediate in Midland, Texas, fell by 75 cents to a Deal News of $15.40 a barrel against Light Louisiana Sweet, the benchmark crude on the Gulf Coast, at 3:53 p.m. New York time today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The spread has widened from $8.75 on Jan. 28.

"We're seeing a bit of a resurgence now, we've moved a few unit trains out," Bruce Carswell, vice president at Permian Basin Railways, which runs two short-line railways that carry oil from the formation, said by phone yesterday. "In the last month, we've seen things improve, and more conversations with folks about trying to turn the spigot back on."

WTI in Midland averaged $11.06 below LLS in January and $10.99 so far in February, both above any month since April of last year.

Rail Loading

The Gulf Coast region had 815,000 barrels a day of crude rail loading capacity in 2013, according to U.S. State Department data. All of that capacity is located in the Permian and Eagle Ford basins in western and southern Texas. The region had about 985,000 barrels a day of unloading capacity, mostly on the Texas and Louisiana coast.

Midland, 300 miles (483 kilometers) west of Dallas, is a pricing hub for the Permian Basin crude, the largest onshore U.S. oilfield sitting mostly below western Texas. The basin is expected to produce 1.4 million barrels a day in February, according to Energy Information Administration forecasts.

That would be an increase of about 110,000 barrels a day from a year earlier and 500,000 barrels a day from February 2010. Producers are using improved technology to recover more oil from old wells and find crude in previously untappable rock.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dan Murtaugh in Houston at; Eliot Caroom in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

Saturday, February 1, 2014

New February printable and digital coupons!

It's the beginning of the month and most of the printable Deal Of The Day sites add new coupons and reload some of their coupons from the previous month so you can print them again! So, if there is a coupon you really wanted, but it was out of prints last month, it may be available today! Read on for the list of printable coupon sites to visit today.

You will want to check out the following sites in the next couple days to print your favorite coupons before they are no longer available. Some of these sites don't reset their coupons every month on the first day, but they usually add new coupons throughout the month, so be sure to check them out.

* coupons can be found in the Smart Shopper Coupons link above. Some of my favorite manufacturer's coupons each month come from this website!

* - Good source for printable manufacturer's coupons

* - Good source for printable manufacturer's coupons

* - Good source for printable manufacturer's coupons for Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and other products

* - Good source for printable manufacturer's coupons for Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and other products

* - Good source for organic and health food product coupons

* With the e-coupon site SavingStar, you don't print out a coupon to redeem at the register. You load digital coupons to your reward card and then the coupon savings are added to your SavingStar account. Once you have accrued $5 worth of savings in your SavingStar account, you can cash the savings in for a gift card. You can choose to receive an Amazon gift card, have the money deposited into your Paypal account or checking account or donate it to a non-profit organization. My favorite aspect of this site is that you can use a hard copy coupon at the register for a product that also offers a SavingStar e-coupon! For more information, click the Thursday Thoughts: SavingStar link in the box above or head to their website HERE.

* Checkout 51 is a new coupon source that can be used in conjunction with paper coupons and other digital coupon programs! And you can use it with your smartphone or computer. Sign up on the Checkout 51 website HERE for free using your e-mail or Facebook info. Browse the available offers (and print out a list if you don't think you will remember them). Head to the store (any store) and buy the offers you want (we have had offers for milk, orange juice, cereal and more!). Take a photo of your receipt and upload it to Checkout 51. Once they confirm your purchase, they will credit your Checkout 51 account in about 24 hours. When you accrue $20 in your Checkout 51 account, you can cash it out in the form of a check mailed to your address. It's a very easy way to increase your coupon and save savings even more!

* is a coupon site that allows you to earn cash back on the groceries and non-food items you buy at stores including Harris Teeter, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart, Kroger and more! For more information, click the ibotta app article in the box above or go to the website. PLUS, they are offering a new member bonus right now. New members get a $2 Welcome Aboard sign-up bonus when you redeem your first offer within 10 days of registering HERE!

* is a website that gives you points for learning about great ways to become more eco-friendly in your home and throughout your community. You can cash in those points for coupons, freebies (like magazine subscriptions) and gift cards to places like Panera, iTunes, Best Buy and more! It's free to join and you can start earning points right away by doing easy activities like watching videos about recycling, pledging to recycle certain products and reading articles about eco-friendly topics.

* (this site often has coupons for health foods and organic products)

* (this site has a number of products for health foods and organic products)

* for printable coupons valid on various Kellogg's products when you use points collected on the boxes of qualifying products. Sign up for a free account, enter codes from participating Kellogg's products (codes are printed in the inside of the box), earn points for each code and then redeem the points for coupons! It's all free and if you use Kellogg's products, it won't take you long to get enough points for coupons.

Once you get a chance to look at the new coupons, let us know which are your favorites!

As you see new coupons become available in the next couple days, please let us know by posting in the comments section below or in the Share the Deals section for the day.

This post contains some affiliate links and I thank you for using them!