The market for shares of Amazon.com Inc., a major player in the online retail market, has plunged as investors scramble to secure shares in the e-commerce giant as it grapples with an array of crises and a looming reckoning with shareholders.
Shares of the Seattle-based e-retailer fell nearly 12 percent on Wednesday, after it reported a sharp slowdown in online sales, a drop that is the biggest since it reported its third-quarter profit in March.
Amazon said its third quarter sales fell 1.9 percent compared with a year earlier, while its operating income fell 14.9 billion dollars, or 3.4 percent, to $1.09 billion.
Amazon stock has fallen more than 50 percent since its June IPO, a period in which it has faced unprecedented scrutiny over its finances and a slew of regulatory challenges.
It has also been under intense pressure from U.S. lawmakers and investors to explain how it operates and how it managed to earn billions in revenue and profit without operating as a monopoly.
On Wednesday, the company’s stock rose 2.9%.
Amazon shares are up more than 6 percent since the start of the year, although investors are skeptical about Amazon’s ability to sustain its growth in the face of regulatory scrutiny.
“I think they’re going to do some damage to themselves,” said Jim Balsillie, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities in New York.
“There’s no doubt they’ll do damage to their reputation.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has made it clear that he doesn’t want to have to face shareholder scrutiny.
Last week, he vowed to spend “tens of billions of dollars” to buy back stock and cut costs.
On Thursday, he also said the company would spend $2 billion to buy additional stock in its core business.
“We will have a long and productive life in the future, but the business we run today is different than it was 10 years ago,” Bezos said.
“That’s what we’re focused on.”
Amazon has been criticized for its reliance on a large staff of contractors and its reliance upon salespeople to deliver orders and to do sales.
It also faces pressure from lawmakers and others to explain the business model that it has created, including a focus on advertising and online services.
The company has come under scrutiny for the cost of shipping goods and how much it charges its employees to deliver products.
It was the first major retailer to say that it would cut the size of its delivery workforce by 25 percent and said it would eliminate more than 3,000 jobs.
The retailer is also facing criticism from investors, which have expressed concern about its ability to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change and to make the most of its growing catalog.
Amazon’s stock fell more than 1 percent on Thursday.
It had been trading as high as $206.24 before the crash.
It lost more than 2 percent the day after the company reported its fourth-quarter earnings, which showed a slowdown in sales and a decline in online revenues.
Amazon is struggling to make up for a loss of nearly $200 million in the third quarter.
Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect Amazon’s earnings to be $1 billion.
The stock has gained almost 40 percent this year and is up more the last five years.
The decline in Amazon’s share price follows a yearlong decline in the company.
Shares fell more in 2013, but then regained their previous gains in 2014, 2015 and 2016, before recovering in 2017.