Amazon.com has been trading for $300+ for a while with a price earnings ratio of around 600. In a real world setting AMZN would be trading for under $5.00. Common Sense Economics knows that for the human species, work is a second choice. Bragging about work ethics and personal initiative is a staple in human to human conversation. Make no mistake, rent seeking for the elite is the preferred method of making a living. For company insiders, goosing a stock price by hook or crook is the best and most lucrative way get paid.
Countless elites rejoice as a stock like AMZN moves into the stratosphere. Chests are pounded and the virtues of hard work and capitalism are proudly proclaimed. But, stock prices are managed politically and the elite are really just on welfare, although not officially.
Government economic policy extracts countless dollars from the poor and middle class every second and transferees it to the billionaire class. Folks don’t seem to mind, especially those who identify as conservatives. QE keeps profit margins up and wages down and rank and file conservatives relish in the role of paying tribute to their role models.
In the end, government policy destroys the whole economy, elites and everyone else. But, the elites don’t care. They have already eaten their lunch.
Perhaps, the real economy is too weak for AMZN to avoid losses anymore and hype is working less well as a promotional tool. Consumers are getting less impressed with playing the role of sucker.
It turns out that despite the finest hype money can buy, AMZN has reported a loss. Buybacks won’t help a company that can’t report positive earnings because fewer shares magnify losses just as they magnify profits.