Morningstar analyst Bridget Weishaar wrote in her quarter-ending consumer cyclical report last week “the structural shift to e-commerce from traditional retail reached a critical inflection point over the quarter.”

Amazon’s ability to deliver Christmas orders fueled a 19 percent increase in active users during the quarter. Amazon effectively extended its holiday shopping season by several days, giving them an advantage over competitors, despite a late-season UPS backlog that hampered Amazon’s ability to deliver on that guarantee.

“Amazon’s expedited shipping capabilities were particularly disruptive, with Best Buy’s (BBY) management team acknowledging that Amazon ‘completely shocked’ the retail industry by guaranteeing delivery through the Monday ahead of Wednesday Christmas,” Weishaar wrote.


positive surprise at St. Jude

In January 2013, St. Jude Medical received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration covering St. Jude’s Sylmar, Calif., manufacturing facility where it makes key heart devices.

The warning letter covered certain manufacturing processes and documentation. It was thought that St. Jude wouldn’t he able to gain approval for certain devices until that letter was lifted.

But recently St. Jude announced some new product launches and approvals from the FDA. That prompted J.P. Morgan analyst Michael Weinstein to write last week: “The expectation had been the warning letter would have to be lifted in order for St. Jude to gain these approvals. So, today’s news is a positive surprise.

“The warning letter has not been lifted,’’ Weinstein wrote. “But it appears St. Jude is making significant progress, enough to warrant the agency approving a number of new devices, including a new ICD lead, the industry’s first quadripolar CRT-P system, and St. Jude’s first line of new pacemakers in years.”

Patrick Kennedy