Shares of e-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) sank 4.8% on Wednesday afternoon to $1,425.10 following reports that despite fears over a White House backlash against Facebook Inc. (FB), President Donald Trump has it out big time for the Seattle-based retailer. (See also: Amazon at $1,900 Possible This Year: Goldman.)
Website Axios reported that Donald Trump is "obsessed with Amazon" and has discussed altering the firm’s tax treatment because friends told him that Amazon is “hurting their businesses and killing shopping malls and brick and mortar retailers.” The news comes as shares of social media pioneer Facebook lost tens of billions of dollars in value over just a few days as investors about over heightened government regulation following a massive data scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, which allegedly used unauthorized information from over 50 million users to aid the Trump campaign in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
"He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law," a source who has reportedly spoken with POTUS told Axios. Trump's hatred for Amazon extends to its CEO and co-founder Jeff Bezos, who became the world's richest person late last year. Trump sees Bezos' The Washington Post as the executive's political weapon against him.
Trump: Pro-Facebook, Anti-Amazon
Trump has taken to his infamous Twitter Inc. (TWTR) account to criticize the U.S. Postal Service for its dealing with Amazon, which he suggests has gotten a free ride from taxpayers and has taken advantage of the USPS. "It's been explained to him in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate and that the post office actually makes a ton of money from Amazon," said the source. Axios noted that the USPS added delivery on Sunday in some cities across the country, driven by its profitable business with the tech titan.
Despite AMZN's sell-off amid a larger market meltdown which has weighed heavy on tech in the recent period, the stock is still up more than 22% year-to-date (YTD) and 67% over the most recent 12 months, compared to the S&P 500's 2.3% decline and 10.9% gain over the same respective periods.
As for Facebook, Trump told Axios last year that he does not mind the company, as it helps him reach his audience. However, a source told Axios that Vice President Mike Pence is concerned about the social media behemoth and its FAANG peer Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL). While he has reportedly argued that the companies are dangerously powerful, he has not pushed internally for any specific regulations. (See also: JPM Warns Customers Against Tech Stocks.)