Displaying items by tag: Amazon
Tech has been doing very poorly lately. Between the heat on Facebook and the growing threat of regulation to Amazon and other big tech companies, things look bleak. However, they may not be as bad as they seem. The reason why is two-fold. Firstly, many experts think any tech regulation won’t be hugely disruptive to the industry. Secondly, the underlying businesses look strong and the worries about regulation have not really dented earnings expectations. All of this leads many to believe that the whole selloff is overdone and things will blow over.
FINSUM: We can’t see any major tech regulations coming out that would really dent the industry, so all else equal, we do think the selloff might be overdone.
In what could either be a big worry for tech or a pile of unwarranted hot air, there are rumors circulating that President Trump may be obsessed with regulating Amazon. Last week, the president escalated his calls for regulating the company, tweeting “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 has also repeatedly attacked the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Trump’s 2020 campaign manager said in a tweet that “Amazon has probably 10x the data on every American that Facebook does. All that data and own a political newspaper, The Washington Post. Hmm.....”.
FINSUM: Our other perspectives aside, we do think governments may need to adopt updated views of when regulation is called for. In Amazon’s case, the company is clearly not a monopoly in any sector, but the data it has does give it heightened importance. The context of monopoly laws, which are essentially modeled on 19th century ideas, don’t seem to have much scope to account for this.
There have been numerous articles covering it over the last few months, and it has caused some excitement and alarm in the market. The story? Amazon is going into healthcare. The hype started to build when Amazon received licenses to be a pharmaceuticals distributor. Now, Barron’s has published a piece explaining why Amazon sees an opportunity. The Internet of Things is supposed to transform the pharmaceutical and healthcare business and Amazon wants to be a part of that, especially now that it has the explicit goal of trying to lower healthcare costs in the US.
FINSUM: We think the high-minded goal of lowering healthcare costs needs to be thought of separately than Amazon’s interest in drug distribution. The fact is, the company sees a solid-margin business it can eat up with its logistics prowess.
While the acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon put a great deal of fear into other grocers and investors, things have quieted down since then. Now, the fears appear to be warranted as Amazon’s plan is becoming apparent. Amazon will offer Whole Foods groceries online at the same prices as in store, with free delivery for Prime Now members. The strategy will make it very hard for other grocers, like Kroger, to compete, as Amazon will likely lose money on every transaction. Kroger, and Walmart, are both launching their own delivery programs, but both will cost between $11.95 and $9.95, making them less competitive for short shopping trips.
FINSUM: Walmart can afford to lose money to grab market share, as can Amazon, but Kroger and other small grocers may be very vulnerable.
Markets have been falling in aggregate, but the real damage has been to the tech sector (and utilities to a lesser extent). Facebook, for instance, fell a whopping 6.8% yesterday on fears of fallout over its data breach. But Amazon, Netflix, and Google, all tumbled as well. Tech stocks have been such a leader for markets, and now amount to such a major percentage of indexes ($2.2 tn), that some are worried tech losses could rattle the whole market. Mounting fears over regulations seem to be weighing on the sector.
FINSUM: The odd thing is that it is not fears over tech businesses that are causing losses, but rather fears of regulation. We do absolutely believe big losses in tech could shake the confidence of the market as a whole.