Trump Targets Amazon Again

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Never one to let pass an opportunity to stir things up, President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted his displeasure with Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).

The tweet came one day after a report that he was “obsessed” with the e-commerce giant that sent Amazon shares tumbling by as much as 4.2% on Wednesday before closing down more than 1%. The president’s tweet sent the shares that had traded up about 1.6% in Thursday’s premarket to down 0.4% in a relative heartbeat.

The president’s tweet was relatively restrained as these things go:

As usual, his tweet included a kernel of truth and a dab of misinformation.

There is little argument that Amazon has had a negative impact on brick-and-mortar retailers. Half of all growth in retail is down to Amazon, and the company accounts for nearly a third of all online retail sales.

The impact of that dominance has led to thousands of store closures and lost jobs. Retailers that were slow to build up their e-commerce offerings have been hit the hardest. The latest victim is Toys “R” Us, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.

As we noted yesterday, Amazon has begun to pay state sales taxes on goods it sells directly, but does not demand that its third-party sellers do the same. The administration’s solicitor general has sided with the state of South Dakota in a case that will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court next month that aims to force e-commerce operations like Amazon to collect sales taxes on all sales.

Trump’s complaints about Amazon taking advantage of the U.S. Postal Service, however, are without foundation, however, as some of his advisors reportedly have tried to tell him.

Shortly after the opening bell, Amazon stock traded down about 3.1% at $1,386.72, in a 52-week range of $859.02 to $1,617.54.

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