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But not every company enjoyed the “Trump bump”. There was a broad selloff in tech stocks, including a notable dip of more than 2% for Amazon. Early on Thursday, Amazon shares suffered another, steeper drop of nearly 6% amid concerns that the company could be hurt because Donald Trump will soon be president.
For most of 2016, Amazon stock was on a phenomenal roll. With membership in its highly lucrative Amazon Prime service soaring (and a particularly strong subscription rate among wealthy Americans), shares of Amazon stock were selling for nearly $850 in October, up from below $500 in January. As of mid-morning on Thursday, though, shares had dropped under $730.
So what happened?
The company’s stock price recently dipped in the wake of a disappointing quarterly earnings report, but the vast majority of analysts still rated Amazon as a “buy”. The real problem, it seems then, is worries over the Trump effect.
Trump has been highly critical of the e-commerce giant. “Amazon is getting away with murder tax-wise,” he said on Fox News in May. Trump steadfastly refused to release his tax returns and more or less admitted to not paying federal taxes for nearly two decades. He accused Bezos of using the Washington Post, which Bezos owns, to keep Amazon’s taxes low. What’s more, speaking of Bezos, Trump said, “He’s got a huge antitrust problem because he’s controlling so much, Amazon is controlling so much of what they are doing.”
Trump’s comments were essentially a repeat of a Tweet he sent out in December 2015. Trump’s relationship with most of the mainstream media has been contentious at best, and he’s targeted the Washington Post in particular for being “phony and dishonest,” going so far as to revoke the paper’s press credentials to his campaign events.
What’s more, Trump has threatened to add tariffs to goods imported to the U.S. and renegotiate trade deals—both of which could directly impact Amazon’s business model. “Bezos built an empire based, in part, on Internet sales of goodies that stem from the overseas factories that Trump has said have stolen American jobs,” the Seattle Times noted. “Free trade fills the company’s sails — as it builds a planetary network of warehouses, transportation and profitable data centers that are turning it into a truly global store.”
It’s fairly clear that Trump and “Jeff Bezos do not see eye to eye,” as Recode’s Jason Del Ray put it. After Trump’s early attacks, Bezos joked that he would gladly send his fellow billionaire to the moon on one of his rockets.
Bezos reiterated the joke about sending Trump into outer space just a few weeks ago, at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit conference. He was also critical of Trump’s threats to the media (“to try to chill the media and sort of threaten retribution, retaliation, which is what he’s done in a number of cases, it just isn’t appropriate”) and the way Trump refused to say whether he’d accept the outcome of the election (“that erodes our democracy”).
On Thursday, however, with the reality of the former reality TV star elected as president and Amazon’s stock dropping sharply, Bezos extended an olive branch.