If you’d like to trade Amazon stock in Canada, you’re in luck: the world’s largest online retailer store trades from most brokerages and can even be held in retirement accounts, such as a TFSA or an RRSP.
Of course, because Amazon is a U.S. stock, the process for trading shares will be different than for a domestic stock. Whether this is your first time trading Amazon stock, or you’re a repeat buyer but need a refresh, let’s take a look at how you can buy Amazon in Canada and some factors to consider before you do.
Can you buy Amazon stock in Canada?
Yes, you can buy Amazon stock in Canada. Most brokerages will allow you to buy stock through a standard account, though you may want to fund it with U.S. dollars to avoid pesky currency conversion fees (more on that below).
You can also buy Amazon stock in retirement accounts, such as a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) or a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). With these accounts, you won’t have to pay capital gains taxes to the CRA or the IRS.
How to Buy Amazon Stock in Canada
Buying Amazon stock in Canada is only slightly different than trading domestic or TSX stocks. Here’s what you can expect:
1. Open a brokerage account
To buy Amazon stock in Canada, you’ll need to open a brokerage account. Most online brokers will allow you to trade Amazon stock and other U.S. stocks, but be careful—not every brokerage will present you with the best deal.
For our purposes here, the most important thing to look for in an online broker is how much it will cost you to exchange CAD for USD. You need USD to buy Amazon stock. How much the exchange will cost you depends on two factors:
- Conversion fee: This is the flat rate your broker charges to exchange loonies for USD. Most brokers will collect between 1 to 2% of the amount you’re trying to exchange as a conversion fee.
- The spread. This is the difference between the actual exchange rate and exchange rate your broker is using. For instance, if $1.00 in CAD can buy you US$0.73, but your broker gives you US$0.70, then the spread is $0.03. The narrower the spread, the better the exchange for you.
In addition to these fees, you’ll also want to consider the broker’s trading commission (how much they charge to execute a trade) and if they charge account management fees. Some brokerages will offer you a bonus for opening an account (like $200 in trading cash), but make sure their fees and exchange rate are favourable to you, as a bonus alone isn’t a good enough reason to pick a broker.
2. Research Amazon stock
Notwithstanding Amazon’s popularity, it would still be wise to research the company and its stock before investing your money in it. A few facts about the company that you should know include:
- Amazon began as a second-hand bookstore but has since earned a name for itself as the world’s largest and most successful e-commerce company.
- Jeff Bezos has been Amazon’s CEO ever since he founded the company in 1994.
- Amazon’s business and revenue streams are very diverse and include products and services from the following subsidiaries and Amazon brands: Whole Foods, Audible, Twitch, Goodreads, Amazon Drive, Amazon Game Studio, Amazon Video, and Amazon Web Services.
- In 2022 Amazon had 300 million active subscribers, shipped to 100 countries, earned roughly $485 billion in annual revenue, and controlled over 50% of the U.S. e-commerce market.(1)
- In 2018, Amazon hit a $1 trillion market cap for the first time;(2) In 2022, Amazon became the world’s first company to lose $1 trillion in market value.(3)
- Amazon stock has appreciated more than 117,000% since its IPO with a return of 32% annually since 1997. (4)
- Amazon is down 49.2% from its year-over-year value (per December 2022).
In addition to these points, you may also want to use some financial tools to see how over (or under) valued Amazon stock is. Some financial metrics to add to your toolbox include:
|What does it measure?
|What’s the formula?
|Earnings per share (EPS)
|Compares a company’s net income with its outstanding shares
|EPS = Net income/Outstanding shares
|Price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio
|Compares a company’s share price with its EPS
|P/E = Current share price/ EPS
|Price-to-earnings-growth (PEG) ratio
|Compares a company’s P/E ratio with expected annualized earnings growth
|PEG = P/E/Expected earnings
For a quick look at Amazon’s historical performance, here’s how the stock has moved over the last year (you can adjust this to different time periods):
3. Place an order
At this point, buying Amazon stock will start to resemble buying any stock in Canada. You’ll log into your brokerage account and type in Amazon’s ticker (AMZN). You’ll tell your broker how many shares you want, and your broker will execute the trade.
As a quick reminder, you’ll have to choose an order type when you trade Amazon stock. The two most common order types in Canada are:
- Market order: With a market order, your broker fills your order at Amazon’s current share price.
- Limit order: A limit order sets a price limit at which you want to buy Amazon. If the share price reaches that limit, your broker will execute the order. For example, if Amazon is $90, but you want to buy it at $89, your broker won’t execute your trade unless Amazon falls to that price.
As far as when you can buy Amazon stock, the company trades on the NASDAQ, which is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET. Depending on your broker, you may be able to trade after hours.
4. Review your Amazon stock periodically
As with other investments, you should check on your Amazon stock periodically to see how it’s performing. Apply the financial metrics above to check its value and read through financial statements and earnings reports when they’re released.
If your Amazon stock has appreciated significantly in value, you might want to sell some shares to rebalance your portfolio. Just keep in mind you’ll have to pay the currency exchange fee again if you trade USD for CAD.
Should Canadian investors buy stock in Amazon?
Amazon is one of the most successful companies in modern business history. Its annual revenue has been steady (and steadily growing), and its stock performance has rewarded many investors with hefty gains, especially those who have stayed invested for a few years or longer.
But that doesn’t mean Amazon stock is automatically the right stock pick for you, your goals, and your investing strategy. The company is still young (28 years) and currently doesn’t pay a dividend. Despite expanding aggressively, Amazon is considered a blue-chip stock and may not offer the rapid expansion and capital appreciation sought by many growth stock investors.
If you’re on the fence about Amazon stock, or your risk tolerance prevents you picking individual stocks in general, you might want to consider buying shares in an ETF that also contains Amazon. Two Canadian ETFs with exposure to Amazon include:
- TD Global Technology Leaders Index ETF (TSE:TEC)
- BMO NASDAQ 100 Equity Index ETF (TSE:ZNQ)