Amazon loses US$54 billion in market value after Donald Trump ‘threatened to go after it’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 March, 2018, 2:14am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 March, 2018, 3:59am

Amazon shares fell as much as 7.4 per cent on Wednesday, wiping about US$53.6 billion from its market value after US President Donald Trump reportedly indicated he wanted to rein in the US tech giant.

Trump talked about changing Amazon’s tax treatment because he worries about family-run retailers being put out of business, the Axios website reported.

The stock pared losses after a White House official said it did not know of any specific policy changes related to Amazon at the moment, adding that it was always looking at different options on a range of policy issues.

Amazon could not be reached immediately reached for comment.

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Less than two hours into the trading session, its trading volume had already exceeded the 10-day moving average for a full day.

The stock, which fell as low as US$1,386.17, was last down 4 per cent at US$1,439,50, giving it a market value of around US$681 billion. The stock was on track for its biggest one-day percentage decline since January 29, 2016.

“With Facebook and regulatory worries, the last thing nervous tech investors wanted to see was news that Trump is targeting Bezos and Amazon over the coming months as this remains a lingering cloud over the stock and heightens the risk profile in the eyes of the Street,” GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives said.

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Trump has taken aim at the company over taxes and jobs, without offering evidence. The retailer’s chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post, which Trump has frequently criticised.

“Capitol Hill wants Facebook’s blood, but President Trump isn’t interested. Instead, the tech behemoth Trump wants to go after is Amazon,” Axios reported, citing five sources who have discussed the issue with him.

Tech stocks are already under pressure after Facebook acknowledged earlier this month that user data had been improperly harvested by a consultancy firm.

Trump’s attacks on Amazon are nothing new. Last year, the president blasted the company for doing damage to “tax paying retailers.” 

The tweet was posted hours after an editorial was published by The Washington Post with the headline “Mr Trump gives comfort to racists.”

Even during his campaign, Trump questioned Amazon’s tax treatment. 

During an interview in May 2016, Trump claimed Bezos has a big antitrust issue related to Amazon.

Bezos was critical of Trump during the campaign, even joking about sending the candidate to space.