Amazon shares finished 2021 as the biggest laggard among the mega-cap technology names, but there’s reason to believe 2022 could be a brighter year for the stock.

Shares of Amazon rose a measly 2.4% in 2021, vastly underperforming the four other so-called FAANG stocks. Apple gained 34%, Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) saw its shares rise 23%, Netflix increased 11% and Alphabet, the year’s top tech stock, climbed 65%.

At the same time, fellow tech giant Microsoft was up 51% for the year and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 21%.

The last time Amazon delivered such lousy returns for investors was 2014 when the stock slumped 22%.

Several factors lie behind Amazon’s poor stock performance last year, according to analysts.

Amazon, like other e-commerce companies, faced tough year-over-year comparisons to 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic led to a surge in online orders. 

 In the second quarter of 2021, Amazon’s revenue grew by 27%, which was a significant slowdown from the year-ago period, when sales skyrocketed 41%.

Amazon underperformed expectations in its last two earnings reports, which also weighed on the stock, said Tom Forte, senior research analyst at D.A. Davidson, in an interview. 

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