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It is often said that, in the history of Amazon, the discrepancy between its low level of earnings and its staggering market value can be justified by its high level of free or operating cash flows( as stated here and here). I doubt this argument because if it were true, it should have impacted the Amazon financials in an obviously tractable way. I think there are 2 scenarios for such impacts: Those cash flows should have been divided between stockholders; in Which case, a big gap between dividends and earing should be observed in historical data and high level of dividends should justify high market value or those cash flows should have been reinvested in Amazon business; in which case, the discrepancy between earnings and cash flows should be just a time lag, because the earnings stemming from those reinvestments should have led to a jump in earnings levels in future periods. As far as I know, none of these scenarios can be observed in Amazon financials. Am I Wrong in my argument or my information of historical data?

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  • $\begingroup$ I have trouble following your argument starting here: “Those cash flows should have been divided between stockholders”. Why should this be, what if these cash flows are reinvested? $\endgroup$ – Bob Jansen Oct 28 '20 at 11:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Bob Jansen After starting with the sentence you mentioned, my argument goes on as follows : “or those cash flows should have been reinvested in Amazon business; in which case, the discrepancy between earnings and cash flows should be just a time lag, because the earnings stemming from those reinvestments should have led to a jump in earnings levels in future periods”. Do you believe earnings stemming from cashflows which have been reinvested in past years can be pinpointed in current amazon income statements? $\endgroup$ – Soroush Kalantari Oct 29 '20 at 11:56
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    $\begingroup$ What are you basing your statement that increasing earnings can't be observed in AMZN financials? macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/AMZN/amazon/… $\endgroup$ – Chris Oct 29 '20 at 16:36