WASHINGTON. It’s beginning to look like January’s irrationally exuberant bulls have begun to pay for their sins. At least that’s what Mr. Market’s nasty turn this week seems to be telling us. Coincidentally or not, the recent hot and juicy Jeff Bezos vs National Enquirer sex scandal story is hammering the shares of Amazon (trading symbol: AMZN) today.
The spectacular Friday plunge in Amazon shares – a market favorite that’s currently down nearly 40 points in active trading – certainly isn’t helping trading sentiment, at least as of Friday noon, ET. The company’s costly shares currently stand at about $1,574 per share, a loss on the day thus far of 2.45 percent. And the day isn’t over.
The sordid Jeff Bezos scandal: Truth, fiction, or the Enquirer?
For those who haven’t tuned in to the latest hot gossip, the story thus far involves some hot emails and some even hotter photos involving Bezos and his current paramour, the gal pal who apparently inspired the pending divorce proceedings between the Amazon tycoon and his current spouse. The Bezos photos allegedly rival those of Anthony Weiner-Man in detailing Jeff’s various naughty bits in action. At least that’s the rumor. You have to let a story rest for at least 2-3 days lately to see if it’s really true.
The sordid Bezos story came to light allegedly because the outfit apparently in possession of the booty-call booty, the notorious National Enquirer scandal-sheet, was, again allegedly, trying to blackmail Bezos by threatening to publish it all. The Bezos-owned Washington Post is taking things a bit further by attempting to link the whole thing to President Trump, given that he’s known to be pals with the Enquirer’s boss. Plus, Trump hates the fabulously rich, virtue-signaling Bezos and his now wholly-owned Washington Post, given the latter’s dedication to 24/7 attacks on the President.
But at the moment at least, that story line a stretch, like most of the #NeverTrump effluvia flowing through Washington. But Bezos has heightened the fun by boldly stepping up to the plate and threatening to publish all the nasty, personal stuff himself. We have to say, that’s about the boldest move we’ve ever seen in a building scandal like this one.
Actually, we rather admire Bezos’ chutzpah. But we continue to have next to no use for the Post. That once-respectable paper has become, if anything, an even nastier, less-reliable scandal sheet than the National Enquirer ever was.
Lawyering up. We’re in the wrong profession, folks
At any rate, we regard most elements of this scandal, as “reported” thus far, as mostly hearsay at this point. Each side – Bezos and the Enquirer – has lawyered up to the hilt. And these rapacious modern-era legal hired guns will lie and exaggerate until the cows come home. Similar to the methodology employed by that lawyer to the Porn Stars, Michael Avenatti, the fusillades of talking points incoming from both sides are intended to prepare the legal battlefield for whatever follows.
This sordid tabloid fodder will prove simultaneously fun and disgusting. The Post will try to make it even funner by dreaming up spurious linkages to members of the Trump entourage, and perhaps even to the president himself. From “anonymous sources,” however. Watch for it. And be sure to #Resist.
Amazon: Considering its own “Escape from New York”?
Let’s add one final tantalizing dollop of Jeff Bezos / Amazon fun. Word is that Bezos is “reconsidering” his decision to place half of his yet-to-be-built HQ2 in New York City. This is allegedly due to local residents’ stout resistance to the Amazon move. We’ve always thought, rightly or wrongly, that the average New York City dweller has one or more bolts loose in his, her or its noggin.
But flatly turning down a potential big employer like Bezos helps us understand three baffling things.
- Why New Yorkers would re-elect a cretinous Commie mayor like Bill de Blasio
- Why they’d also elect and re-elect a thuggish governor like job-killing Andrew Cuomo
- And why they’d even consider electing a no-brains newcomer like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as their Representative in the House. (Which, of course, they did.)
Answer: Like Coastal Californians, New York City dwellers, by and large, no longer have any connection either to reality or to their utter dependence on food, products or materials produced for their benefit by the Flyover Country Deplorables they wish were dead.
Suggestion to Bezos: Just move the rest of HQ2 back to northern Virginia like you should have to begin with. We have plenty of room here. Or we’ll build more. Even better, we have loads of willing workers here. Virginia has always been far more business friendly than its neighbors, and boasts considerably lower taxes as well.
It’s always something
At any rate, the many-layered Bezos / Amazon news today once again proves that SNL’s Roseanne Roseannadanna was right. It’s always something.
And yet, this “something” is killing Amazon shares this morning on a trading day that’s been simply awful anyway.
The stock gurus speak
On the other hand, rumor-driven s___tstorms like this one can create real bargains, as at least two stock analysts point out.
“At the end of the day, we get back to the fundamentals of the company, irrespective of what executives are doing,” said Ron Josey, internet analyst at JMP Securities. “I would be surprised if it had a negative impact on Amazon. It’s such a large business with a lot of different opportunities and operation. The way it’s set up with leadership across retail and AWS and the businesses underneath with logistics and advertising… there’s a lot of support here.”
“I don’t think the allegations have a direct line into the fundamentals of Amazon,” added Anthony DiClemente, internet analyst at Evercore ISI. “Certainly from a public relations standpoint, I don’t think it’s ideal. When you look at the fundamentals, it’s hard to imagine it will have a negative impact.”
Time to buy AMZN?
We actually agree with these guys. And even though the sword seems to be falling on the market again in general, we may pick up a few shares of AMZN today just for the heck of it. It depends on how much worse the over all market storm gets both today and Monday.
After all, the current bearish mood seems to have been kicked off by stories that the US-China trade talks are now very unlikely to get resolved before their March 1 deadlines. So the current Amazon tempest is, in reality, just another minor irritation within the over all fearful zeitgeist.
The problem with never-ending headline risk
A worse problem: Negative stories, true or not but often merely speculative, pile up every day in both the financial and the general media. This seems to be an almost instinctive frenzy geared toward making Donald Trump into political box office poison in 2020.
We don’t really believe that a “recession” is imminent. But Wall Street and the Deep State actually seem to want just that in order to derail the Trump candidacy in 2020. Assuming the Mueller “report” and / or the Democrat-run House don’t get him first.
This becomes a real perceptual problem for the average investor. Actual truth in anything is hard to find these days. So you place your bets on what you think is true. Fully aware that a lot of it is probably not. Nonetheless, as we’ve said many times in this column, for both the hard left and the Deep Staters, telling a lie long enough and loud enough generally succeeds in making the average individual think it’s the truth.
Media manipulation and fabulation makes it tough to invest
As long as politics, stocks, and now even daily life are routinely manipulated by lies and hearsay, it becomes almost impossible to make informed financial commitments. It’s the tragedy of our times. And yet the whole sick game is played out daily in the stock market, which is fast becoming a proxy for politics, just like everything else.
This is no way to invest. But at least for now, it’s all we have.
On that bright and positive note, here’s wishing our readers a pleasant weekend. We won’t have to deal with Mr. Market again until Monday.
— Headline image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter meets with Jeff Bezos in 2016 at The Pentagon.
(DoD photo, public domain. Image and caption via Wikipedia)