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Wall Street declines as U.S. files antitrust suit against Amazon over pricing

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Wall Street ended slightly lower on Tuesday after new data on consumer confidence missed expectations.

Stocks edged higher early in the session but declined later with the S&P 500 dipped 0.2% as the energy sector lagged. The Nasdaq Composite closed flat while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 81.52 points or 0.2%.

Airlines, Cruise Lines, and Homebuilder stocks outperformed. United Airlines’ stock jumped 1.5% after the carrier said domestic leisure fares topped 2019 levels this month amid the reopening. Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line were in the green and were up by nearly 3.6 %. NVR shares jumped about 4%.

Investors are awaiting a speech from Federal Reserve Vice Chair Randal Quarles on Wednesday as concerns surrounding inflation and potential tapering continue.

NVIDIA, Snowflake, American Eagle, Dick’s Sporting goods, and other companies are coming out with earnings reports tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Amazon is being sued by Washington DC over allegations it abuses its position as a retail giant. A lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, claims that Amazon is presently controlling up to 70% of US online sales results in higher prices for consumers.

Filed by Karl Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, the lawsuit accuses Amazon of charging third-party sellers on its site fees of up to 40% of a product’s price, as well as stopping them from charging less on other platforms.

“Amazon’s online retail sales platform benefits from and is protected by Amazon’s anticompetitive business practices. Far from enabling consumers to obtain the best products at the lowest prices, Amazon instead causes prices across the entire online retail sales market to be artificially inflated, both for products sold on Amazon’s online retail sales platform and on its competitors’ online retail sales platforms,” it said.

Amazon counterclaimed that the lawsuit “has it exactly backwards”.

“Amazon takes pride in the fact that we offer low prices across the broadest selection, and like any store, we reserve the right not to highlight offers to customers that are not priced competitively.” said its spokesman.

The lawsuit is the sixth antitrust case against a major U.S. tech company filed in the last year by state and federal officials. The U.S. Justice Department and a group of states sued Alphabet Inc.’s Google last year, accusing the company of abusing its dominance in internet search.

The latest legal challenge comes when its sales have soared with a reported profit of over $ 8 billion in the first three months of 2021 as consumers were forced to stay at home due to COVID lockdowns.

Amazon shares fell 0.8% to a session low on the news but later recovered to close marginally higher.

 

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