Some analysts maintain Amazon ratings in the wake of landmark FTC lawsuit

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Some analysts maintain Amazon ratings in the wake of landmark FTC lawsuit
Credit: © Reuters. -- Some analysts have kept their outlook for the future prospects of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN ) shares unchanged despite the $1.3 trillion e-commerce giant facing a landmark anti-trust lawsuit from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC's long-awaited complaint alleges that Amazon is a monopoly that maintains its power by employing anticompetitive and unfair practices. In particular, the FTC accused the company of harnessing its dominant market position to fight efforts by sellers on its online marketplace to charge cheaper prices on rival platforms.

A federal court in Seattle, where Amazon is based, was asked by the FTC to consider "any preliminary or permanent equitable relief, including but not limited to structural relief, necessary to restore fair competition."

"Structural relief" could refer to a possible splitting of Amazon into smaller parts, according to media reports. FTC Chair Lina Khan, who has long advocated for a sweeping crackdown on Big Tech firms, declined to discuss a possible break-up of Amazon in a press briefing on Tuesday. Instead, she said, the focus is on "liability."

Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky, meanwhile, argued that the practices targeted by the FTC have actually produced "greater selection, lower prices, and faster delivery speeds" for customers and "greater opportunity" for businesses.

“The FTC’s complaint grossly mischaracterizes the retail industry and the dynamic competition that consumers benefit from every day," Zapolsky said in a blog post. "Consumers today still buy over 80% of all retail products in physical stores. And as any shopper knows, you can buy the same products at any number of different retailers that compete vigorously with each other, including brick-and-mortar stores, online stores, and quickly growing hybrid models like buy-online-pick-up-in-store."

Considering the case, analysts at Telsey Advisory Group said that while they "understand" the FTC is concerned about the costs Amazon extracts from sellers, they believe it could be "hard to argue" with the tech group's response that sellers have multiple options to transact. The analysts maintained their outperform rating of the stock, adding that they expect it to still be a "share gainer."

Analysts at Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) and Citi also reiterated their respective buy ratings, arguing that Amazon's core operations could help offset fears around the outcome of lawsuit.

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