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Drug Stores Next On The Amazon Hit List?

Drug Stores Next On The Amazon Hit List?

First it was bookstores, then general retail, then cloud computing and now groceries., Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has targeted industry after industry and left a trail of obsolete victims in its wake. Even investors who want nothing to do with Amazon have been forced to keep up with what the company has planned next to make sure the companies they own won’t be Amazon’s next target.

Earlier this year, Amazon was reportedly considering entering the pharmacy industry. Amazon even hired a new management team to put together a pharmacy strategy. This week, new reports have surfaced that Amazon has been in discussions with pharmaceutical middlemen known as pharmacy benefits managers. The news has led some to speculate that Amazon may be planning some form of mail-order prescription drug business targeting uninsured customers and/or customers with high deductibles.

The reports certainly seem to have gotten the attention of shareholders of CVS Health Corp (NYSE: CVS), Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ: WBA) and other drug store stocks.

In fact, Amazon may have been in the back of the mind of drug store investors for a while. Even with the S&P 500 making steady new all-time highs in the past two years, both Walgreens and CVS haven’t made new highs since mid-2015. On the day Amazon announced its Whole Foods deal, Walgreens stock got whacked down from $82.56 to $78.44. After aggressive selling pressure this week, the stock remains trapped in nearly a two-year trading range between $74 and $87.

CVS also got hammered by the Whole Foods news, which sent shares plummeting from around $80 to $77 the day the news was announced. CVS stock has also been trapped within a range between $73 and $84 throughout all of 2017.

Drug store traders seem to be mostly treading water for now, with one eye on Amazon and another eye on healthcare reform. News on either front could be the catalyst both stocks need to break in one direction or the other. Leerink estimates that it could potentially take Amazon up to two years to obtain pharmacy licenses in all 50 U.S. states.

Joel Elconin contributed to this story.

Related Link: 14 Stocks Insulated From Amazon's Dominance


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