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Premarket stocks: CEOs like Jeff Bezos are struggling with new political realities

What happens: Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos has announced that the company “supports an increase in the corporate tax rate” as President Joe Biden promotes an ambitious infrastructure package. To help pay for the bill, Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%.

“We support the Biden administration’s focus on making bold investments in US infrastructure,” Bezos said. “We recognize that this investment will require concessions from all sides – both in terms of what is included and how it will be paid for.”


That’s a remarkable announcement – especially given that Amazon has been criticized for paying little or no income tax in recent years. The company reported a US federal tax liability of $ 1.8 billion. In 2020 compared to this year’s net income of $ 21.3 billion.

Amazon’s willingness to increase its tax burden comes as the company has been forced to play defense on a number of other fronts.

The online retailer has clashed with lawmakers in recent weeks over a union vote at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. Voting is still counting, but the vote could mark a huge victory for organized labor and increase how the company engages with hundreds of thousands of American workers.

It also needs goodwill given a bipartisan moment for greater regulation of Big Tech companies. Like Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL), Amazon faces scrutiny for alleged anti-competitive behavior. Its growth during the pandemic may have only increased the size of the target on its back.
Go back: Businesses are ready for a booming post-pandemic economy that is expected to boost earnings and spur growth. JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon, who released his widespread letter to shareholders on Wednesday, told my CNN business colleague Matt Egan that he has not been so optimistic about the U.S. economy “for a long time.”
But managers also navigate a difficult set of factors that can affect their business – making higher taxes just a point of a wide range of concerns. Last week, including companies Delta (FROM) and Coca Cola (COW) condemned Georgia’s controversial voting law after coming under pressure from activists.

In his shareholder letter, Dimon wrote that America is “clearly under a lot of stress and strain” thanks to the pandemic, racial inequality, the emergence of China and “the divisive presidential election of 2020 that culminated in the storm of the Capitol and the attempt to disrupt our democracy. “

The influential Business Roundtable has promised to fight higher corporate taxes, which it claims will make U.S. companies less competitive. But it is noteworthy that Amazon has decided to focus its focus elsewhere.

Coinbase reports huge growth ahead of Wall Street listing

The massive start-up in the price of cryptocurrencies has been a huge win for Coinbase, which is poised to debut on the public market next week.

The latest: The digital currency exchange on Tuesday estimated that it brought in $ 1.8 billion in revenue during the first three months of the year. That’s an increase from $ 1.3 billion throughout 2020.

Between January and March, the price of bitcoin – the most popular cryptocurrency – jumped from less than $ 30,000 to more than $ 58,000, while the price of ethereum more than doubled.

“We have seen the high crypto-asset prices of the time drive elevated levels of user activity and trading volume on our platform,” Coinbase CFO Alesia Haas said in an investor call.

See this space: California-based Coinbase is the high-profile company in the cryptocurrency space to be announced, and its direct listing on Nasdaq, scheduled for next Wednesday, is getting a lot of attention.

But regulating the crypto space remains a major risk. Last month, Coinbase reached a $ 6.5 million settlement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over allegations that it provided false or misleading information about transactions and that a former employee made manipulative trades.

“We are subject to a comprehensive and highly evolving regulatory landscape and any adverse changes in or non-compliance with laws and regulations may adversely affect our brand, reputation, business, operating results and financial condition,” the company warned in filing with Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tops become public as trading cards boom

The pandemic has given a resurgence in the popularity of trading cards, as the hobby attracts both a new wave of young followers and a stream of professional investors chasing returns.

This has been good news for the 83-year-old Topps, whose brand is synonymous with baseball cards and chewing gum. On Tuesday, the company announced plans to merge with a specialty acquisition company or SPAC, reports my CNN business colleague Paul R. La Monica.

The deal will value Topps at $ 1.3 billion.

Topps has been a listed company several times throughout its many decades in business. Most recently, it was taken privately in 2007 by an investment company run by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. This deal was worth $ 385 million.

The scene: I wrote a deep dive on trading card mania earlier this year – and the hype has not abated. Last week, a 2000-signed rookie card sold to Tom Brady for nearly $ 2.3 million at auction.

The industry has also received a boost from craze over non-fungal tokens or NFTs. Topps recently expanded its business to sell digital versions of its playing cards, each with a unique digital token built on blockchain technology. It creates a scarcity that makes them more valuable to collectors.


The meeting between the G20 finance ministers and the central bank governors will end with a press conference at 10 ET.

Also today:

  • The latest data on US crude oil stocks is available at 10.30 ET.
  • Minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting arrive at 14 ET.
Coming tomorrow: Conagra (CAG), Constellation Brands (STZ) and Levi Strauss (LEVI) report earnings.

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