There’s one big reason Trump wouldn’t want to go after Amazon

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos laughs as he talks to the media while touring the new Amazon Spheres during the grand opening at Amazon's Seattle headquarters in Seattle, Washington, U.S., January 29, 2018.

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Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos laughs as he talks to the media while touring the new Amazon Spheres during the grand opening at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters in Seattle, Washington, U.S., January 29, 2018.
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Reuters/Lindsey Wasson

  • President Donald Trump has lobbed attacks against Amazon over its taxes and what it pays the Post Office for days.
  • Trump and the White House don’t have a plan to attack Amazon.
  • It’s unlikely Trump will actually attack Amazon for one big reason: the stock market.

President Donald Trump keeps slamming Amazon, but there’s a big reason why the president is unlikely to follow through on any of his threats: the stock market.

Despite Trump’s repeated attacks via Twitter and in meetings with foreign leaders, Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs and Spencer Soper reported Tuesday that neither Trump nor the White House have so far made any progress on developing a plan to go after Amazon – even amid the nearly week-long crusade from the president.

Isaac Boltansky, a policy analyst at research and trading firm Compass Point, noted Tuesday the White House’s silence on an actual plan despite repeated bluster from Trump. He said it would likely stay that way.

“Attacking Amazon damages broader market indices, which the president has repeatedly touted as one of his primary gauges of success,” Boltansky wrote. “Amazon is approximately 2.5% of the S&P 500 and the president’s personal vendetta against the company is surely a component of broader market anxieties.”

The stock market, which Trump and administration officials have called the “report card” for the presidency, dove in the days following Trump’s initial Amazon tweets. Stocks pushed into negative territory for the year after Monday.

Given Trump’s obsession with the market, said Greg Valliere, the chief global strategist at Horizon Investments, the drop-off should give the president pause before moving forward with the Amazon fight.

“A plunging stock market is not a victory, and Trump must realize that he suddenly is vulnerable with investors,” Valliere wrote Tuesday.

Whether or not the broader decline can be pinned directly on the Amazon dip is debatable (there’s also the issue of Trump’s trade threats), but the correlation alone could be enough to spook the stock-focused president. To reinforce the point, after Tuesday’s Bloomberg report, both Amazon and the broader market surged higher for the day.

“The headline risk for Amazon is likely to continue for as long a President Trump calls the White House home, but we doubt his personal antipathy for Jeff Bezos will translate into actual policy,” Boltansky said, referring to the Amazon CEO.