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Trump Friend or Foe, Amazon and Sinclair Slump Amid Tweets

Updated on
  • Sinclair’s drop roughly tracks path of Trump target Amazon
  • President gives support in tweets for conservative broadcaster

President Donald Trump’s been expressing support for Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., but that hasn’t insulated the conservative-leaning broadcaster from a wider market slump.

Sinclair dropped more than 4 percent on Monday after Trump defended the Maryland-based company. That’s roughly the path taken by Amazon.com Inc., which plunged 5.1 percent Monday on a series of negative tweets by the president.

The lesson may be that Trump’s tweets don’t change the expectation that Sinclair will win federal permission to buy more TV stations, while traders see Trump’s animosity as holding real potential to damage Amazon. The online retailer could be vulnerable to an antitrust probe or a hike in postal rates.

“Neither President Donald Trump’s tweets nor a recent popular video about Sinclair’s sometimes centrally driven broadcast-news practices is likely to impact the FCC’s review of the Sinclair-Tribune deal,” Matthew Schettenhelm, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said in a note Tuesday morning assessing Sinclair’s path before the Federal Communications Commission. The agency is one of two vetting Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media Co. television stations, including outlets in New York and Chicago. Tribune dropped 1 percent Monday.

Trump has unleashed a barrage of tweets accusing Amazon of not paying enough in taxes and underpaying the U.S. Postal Service. The online retailer was the biggest drag on the equity benchmark Monday, a position its held for a week as it plunged 12 percent since Axios reported that the president was “obsessed” with regulating the company.

On Tuesday, Trump described several U.S. news outlets as "fakers" afraid of increased competition from Sinclair. A day earlier, he defended Sinclair from critics who focused on the company’s news readers in scattered cities reading identical texts.

Sinclair closed Tuesday unchanged and Amazon rose after a Bloomberg News report the administration didn’t have active plans against it.

(Updates in last paragraph with shares recovering.)
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