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Trump escalates attack on Amazon, focussing on tax, shipping

Trump escalates attack on Amazon, focussing on tax, shipping
31 Mar 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump accused Amazon.com Inc on Thursday of not paying enough tax, taking advantage of the U.S. postal system and putting small retailers out of business, but he offered no evidence to back up his criticisms and did not suggest any actions he would take.

Trump has attacked Amazon and its Chief Executive Jeff Bezos several times, and his latest comment came a day after news website Axios reported he was obsessed with the world’s largest online retailer and wanted to rein in its growing power, possibly with federal antitrust or competition laws.

“I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” Trump tweeted early on Thursday.

Amazon shares fell as much as 4.5 percent in morning trade, but recovered and closed up just over 1 percent. The stock dropped 5 percent on Wednesday following the Axios report. Amazon declined to comment on the tweet.

The retailer and cloud computing pioneer is the latest company Trump has singled out for praise or condemnation, although the effect on stock prices of his targets is generally short-lived.

Trump’s criticism did not diminish U.S. fund managers’ long-term enthusiasm for Amazon, whose stock has risen more than five-fold in the last five years.

“If there really was teeth or real concern that something would come out of the government and regulatory oversight, Amazon’s stock drop would be a lot lower than it is today,” said Robert Bacarella, portfolio manager at Monetta Financial Services in Wheaton, Illinois, which holds Amazon shares.

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