AMZN - Amazon.com, Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real-time price. Currency in USD
1,901.37
+15.34 (+0.81%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT

1,906.40 +5.03 (0.26%)
After hours: 7:47PM EDT

Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close1,886.03
Open1,901.35
Bid1,905.00 x 900
Ask1,906.88 x 900
Day's range1,900.00 - 1,921.66
52-week range1,307.00 - 2,050.50
Volume3,622,993
Avg. volume4,347,518
Market cap936.105B
Beta (3Y monthly)1.73
PE ratio (TTM)79.38
EPS (TTM)23.95
Earnings date24 Jul 2019 - 29 Jul 2019
Forward dividend & yieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-dividend dateN/A
1y target est2,246.75
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
  • Salesforce exec: There is a 'crisis of trust' in big tech
    Yahoo Finance5 hours ago

    Salesforce exec: There is a 'crisis of trust' in big tech

    Big tech is under the microscope, now that U.S. regulators investigate whether Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), and Google (GOOG) have too much power. As calls for breaking up these tech titans gain momentum among lawmakers, at least one Silicon Valley insider says “trust” is at the crux of the increased scrutiny. “I think regulators are really responding to a crisis of trust in the tech industry,” Salesforce (CRM) President, Bret Taylor, tells Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

  • One-quarter of the stock market’s 2019 gains come from just five stocks
    Yahoo Finance9 hours ago

    One-quarter of the stock market’s 2019 gains come from just five stocks

    A large portion of the S&P 500's market cap has been driven by just five high-profile stocks.

  • Best Buy to sell Flywheel bikes and other popular home exercise machines
    Yahoo Finance12 hours ago

    Best Buy to sell Flywheel bikes and other popular home exercise machines

    Best Buy announced Tuesday that it will be selling a collection of high-tech at-home fitness equipment.

  • HP Enterprise to Move Toward Subscription Model, Chasing Amazon
    Bloomberg2 hours ago

    HP Enterprise to Move Toward Subscription Model, Chasing Amazon

    (Bloomberg) -- Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. will make all its products available through subscriptions, Chief Executive Officer Antonio Neri’s biggest move yet to shield the server maker from growing cloud-computing competition.HPE’s computer servers, storage hardware, networking gear and software will be available through a pay-per-use or subscription model by 2022, the San Jose, California-based company said Tuesday in a statement.Neri took over the company in February 2018, and has focused on keeping HPE relevant in a changing market for information technology. Cloud vendors such as Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have seen booming sales while global server demand has stagnated. First, Neri downplayed the threat from the public cloud companies, investing $4 billion in edge computing, which lets clients process information on hardware far away from data centers and he touted as the next wave of computing. Recently, HPE has taken a more pragmatic approach, forming a partnership with Google that will help clients adopt a hybrid model -- to move information between their own corporate data centers and large public clouds.HPE made the subscription announcement at its annual Discover conference in Las Vegas. This is the company’s most significant effort to generate more recurring revenue, which can help boost overall sales. HPE’s revenue has shrunk in the last two quarters compared with a year earlier.“We will reshape HPE and transform the market, with a new and better way to deliver as a service,” Neri said in a statement.To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The World Now Has Three People Worth More Than $100 Billion Each
    Bloomberg3 hours ago

    The World Now Has Three People Worth More Than $100 Billion Each

    (Bloomberg) -- Bernard Arnault, Europe’s richest person, just joined Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates in the world’s most exclusive wealth club with a fortune of at least $100 billion.Arnault, chairman of LVMH, entered the ranks of centibillionaires Tuesday as the luxury-goods maker climbed 2.9% to a record 368.80 euros a share. His net worth has increased almost $32 billion this year, the most on the 500-member Bloomberg Billionaires Index.France’s multibillionaires have added the most wealth among European members of Bloomberg’s ranking in 2019, with Arnault, Kering SA’s Francois Pinault and cosmetics heir Francoise Bettencourt Meyers tacking on more than $40 billion between them. Meanwhile, the brothers behind the Chanel brand, Gerard and Alain Wertheimer, saw their fortunes soar $9.8 billion this week after the Parisian fragrance and fashion house reported its 2018 results.Arnault’s fortune of $100.4 billion now equals more than 3% of France’s economy, underscoring the wealth gap in his native country, where protesters have agitated this year for more benefits paid for by the rich. Even amid growing trade tensions, Chinese consumers’ appetite for Louis Vuitton handbags and Hennessy cognac has bolstered results for LVMH, the owner of Dom Perignon Champagne and Tag Heuer watches. The company’s shares have surged 43% this year, the third-best performer on France’s CAC 40 Index.Arnault, 70, and his family are among luxury tycoons who pledged more than $650 million in April for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral after the landmark church was ravaged by fire. He controls about half of Paris-based LVMH through a family holding company and also owns a 97% stake in Christian Dior, the fashion house founded three years before his birth in 1949.Arnault entered the luxury-goods market by acquiring a textile group that owned Christian Dior. He sold all of the company’s other businesses and used the proceeds to buy a controlling stake in LVMH in 1988.Gates, the Microsoft Corp. co-founder, has donated more than $35 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Amazon.com Inc.’s Bezos, meanwhile, saw his net worth drop $40 billion earlier this year after reaching a divorce settlement with MacKenzie Bezos.To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Stupples in London at bstupples@bloomberg.net;Devon Pendleton in New York at dpendleton@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at ppaulden@bloomberg.net, Steven Crabill, Peter EichenbaumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The 1 Part of Walmart’s Online Strategy That Isn’t Working
    Motley Fool3 hours ago

    The 1 Part of Walmart’s Online Strategy That Isn’t Working

    The urban-focused Jet.com hasn’t lived up to expectations.

  • T-Mobile Doesn't Need Sprint This Bad
    Bloomberg4 hours ago

    T-Mobile Doesn't Need Sprint This Bad

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- T-Mobile US Inc. may have found a way to salvage its takeover of Sprint Corp., but it comes at a cost, and leaves one to wonder whether its single-minded focus on sealing the deal is clouding its judgment. It certainly wouldn’t be the first company to let that happen in M&A. T-Mobile is in talks to sell assets, including wireless spectrum and Sprint’s Boost Mobile prepaid brand, to satellite-TV provider and known spectrum-hoarder Dish Network Corp. for at least $6 billion, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. This is being done in an effort to appease the U.S. Department of Justice, which is concerned about the impact that T-Mobile’s $59 billion acquisition of Sprint will have on consumers’ wallets.The DOJ is said to want T-Mobile to lay the foundation for the emergence of a viable No. 4 competitor in the U.S. wireless market to help fill the hole that buying Sprint would leave behind. Dish could, in theory, be that new fourth competitor, and that’s likely the motivation behind the reported arrangement. But given the strategic needs of all involved, the logic of this workaround is puzzling. Let’s start with Dish. While it doesn’t have a wireless network, it already owns lots of mid-band spectrum licenses. These valuable assets have underpinned the company’s $18 billion market capitalization, even as its core satellite-TV business has lost droves of subscribers. Charlie Ergen, the billionaire chairman of Dish, has vaguely laid out plans for using the company’s spectrum to build a nationwide network to service the “internet of things,” ostensibly a step toward later launching a 5G network. Despite what he says, many investors and analysts have expected (or hoped) to see Ergen just sell the spectrum, rather than spending years entangled in a costly network build-out and as a latecomer to the 5G race at that. In any case, the last thing Dish would seem to need is more spectrum. Taking on Boost’s prepaid customers also wouldn’t seem to give Dish much of a leg up in the wireless space, and their bases don’t really overlap. What Dish does need is a partner with the ability to help build its network. If the Sprint deal were to collapse, T-Mobile could be said partner. (After all, Dish has been one of the biggest opponents of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, at least until now it seems.) Or what about Amazon?A couple of years ago, Ergen reportedly discussed a partnership of sorts with Amazon.com Inc. – and that has to make T-Mobile a little nervous. It’s hard to see how buying Sprint and potentially providing an entry point for Amazon is a better outcome for T-Mobile than the status quo of competing with Sprint, a far weaker rival. Gaining Sprint’s spectrum is also one of the biggest reasons for doing the merger in the first place, so it’s surprising that T-Mobile is willing to divest some of it. And a forced seller isn’t known to get the best price. This is why I wrote last week that it wouldn’t be a surprise if at this point T-Mobile decided to walk away from the deal, on account of disagreeable concessions and a lawsuit by a group of state attorneys general seeking to block the transaction. It may not be a stretch to think that may have been part of the DOJ’s angle in pushing for such divestitures. But if the DOJ and T-Mobile can come to this simple of an agreement – sell spectrum and Boost – then I’m left with two questions: Were regulators really not taking a hard line? Or are executives at T-Mobile and its German parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG, so resolved to get the merger done that they’ll do it even if the merits are spoiled in the process? Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC, put it this way in a note to clients on Monday: “At the end of the day, a bad deal is worse than no deal at all.” That’s true – unless you’re Sprint, in which case no deal is the worst outcome. But T-Mobile shouldn’t feel that same desperation.To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., media and telecommunications. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Investors are in a euphoric state as the stock market bubble gets bigger
    MarketWatch4 hours ago

    Investors are in a euphoric state as the stock market bubble gets bigger

    European Central Bank President Mario Draghi turned ultra-dovish in a speech in Portugal on Tuesday. Is this a motivation for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and his cohorts to cut interest rates as they meet this week? President Trump on Tuesday blasted Draghi because stimulus in Europe means a lower euro versus the dollar, giving an edge to European companies in their exports to the U.S. On the other hand, the U.S. stock market is encouraged by Trump’s tweet of a “very good” phone call with President Xi of China and the news of an extended meeting with him at the G20.

  • Where’s the real harm from Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple?
    MarketWatch4 hours ago

    Where’s the real harm from Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple?

    Sloppy economic thinking is behind the push for antitrust action, writes this economist at the Cato Institute.

  • Amazon Ended Another Lukewarm Venture
    Market Realist5 hours ago

    Amazon Ended Another Lukewarm Venture

    Amazon (AMZN) has shut down its social-shopping feature known as "Amazon Spark." Amazon launched Spark in 2017. Spark was promoted as a "discovery shopping feature."

  • Reuters - UK Focus5 hours ago

    US STOCKS-Wall St rises as mood on trade again turns optimistic, nears record high

    Wall Street surged on Tuesday and the S&P 500 approached a record high after Washington rekindled trade talks with Beijing, boosting sentiment along with growing investor confidence that the Fed will cut interest rates this year. President Donald Trump said he would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month, and said talks between the two countries would restart after a recent lull.

  • Rite Aid Partners with Adobe, Digital Business to Benefit
    Zacks5 hours ago

    Rite Aid Partners with Adobe, Digital Business to Benefit

    Rite Aid (RAD) partners with Adobe to accelerate digital transformation and boost customer experience across all channels.

  • 3 REITs to Buy in June
    Zacks6 hours ago

    3 REITs to Buy in June

    Let's check out 3 REITs that might be worth buying at the moment...

  • Amazon Isn’t All That Powerful in America’s Retail Space
    Market Realist6 hours ago

    Amazon Isn’t All That Powerful in America’s Retail Space

    Amazon’s (AMZN) grip on America’s online retail market isn’t as tight as some investors might have thought. According to the latest estimates from eMarketer, Amazon’s share of America’s e-commerce market will be 37.7% in 2019.

  • The antitrust suspects: Facebook and Apple appear to be most at risk
    MarketWatch6 hours ago

    The antitrust suspects: Facebook and Apple appear to be most at risk

    Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. are most at risk if government regulators are serious about pursuing antitrust actions against Big Tech.

  • Charting a bull-flag breakout, S&P 500 knifes toward record territory
    MarketWatch7 hours ago

    Charting a bull-flag breakout, S&P 500 knifes toward record territory

    Technically speaking, the major U.S. benchmarks have taken flight mid-month, rising amid persistently bullish June price action, writes Michael Ashbaugh.

  • Joe Biden Criticized Amazon’s Tax Practices
    Market Realist8 hours ago

    Joe Biden Criticized Amazon’s Tax Practices

    Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized Amazon’s (AMZN) tax practices. Amazon didn't pay any federal taxes in 2018. The company's federal tax bill is expected to be zero in 2019.

  • Bloomberg9 hours ago

    Facebook’s Libra Wanders Into the Bitcoin Bear Trap

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Facebook Inc. on Tuesday launched its ambitious new cryptocurrency, which targets 2.6 billion users and is backed by up to $1 billion in funds. For the blockchain faithful, there was plenty of the usual stuff you see in these kinds of projects: A white paper, a nonprofit consortium to govern the digital coins, geeky technical details on how transactions will be validated, and the promise of open-source code.But for consumers, who will decide ultimately whether or not Libra is a flop, there was only a slightly underwhelming hint of what it might actually be used for: A picture of someone sending money to someone else via a smartphone.Even setting aside the various risks thrown up by the Libra white paper (financial stability, user privacy, and whether it could cope with hundreds of millions of daily transactions), you have to ask why it might be a compelling product. The service described by Facebook, namely sending money “as you might send a text message,” is already offered by plenty of other companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Cash, PayPal Holdings Inc.’s Venmo and Circle, a peer-to-peer payments provider that lets you transfer traditional fiat currencies.Indeed, Facebook itself lets you send cash through its Messaging app. The company even had its own virtual currency before, called Credits, for the purchasing of content from within apps. It didn’t take off.Libra’s sales pitch says that “in time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.” It’s true that you can’t do that on every payments app. But Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg faces plenty of competition in the race toward a cashless society, with other corporate and government rivals already well advanced in their plans. Sweden, for example, is on the road to becoming cashless as soon as 2023. The local mobile payments service Swish was used by about 60 percent of Swedes in 2018, according to a Riksbank survey. It has more than 6.7 million users in the country.This isn’t to write off Facebook’s chances completely. Maybe its financial heft and vast number of users could turn something that’s already pretty convenient today (money transfers and payments) into something ultra-convenient. Imagine a pot of Libra tokens that could pay directly for every goods purchase or app subscription without the need for any currency conversion or card payment. This would, though, depend on Facebook’s ability to manage the huge technical challenge of designing a single coin that can be used truly anywhere.To become a genuinely universal medium of exchange, the company would need to get rival tech giants like Amazon.Com Inc. and Netflix Inc. on board. And why would they want to do Zuckerberg any favors? The idea that Libra is really at arm’s length from his social media empire of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp is debatable. Facebook plans to lead the Libra consortium for the rest of 2019, and it will be at least five years before the blockchain technology that supports the tokens is completely decentralized. The ultimate dream of any crypto project worth its salt is that the digital currency doesn’t rely on a single point of control. But even if Facebook manages to get there, does Zuckerberg really want to embrace the dangers of a Wild West cryptocurrency? Bitcoin is a lesson here.And what about Facebook’s targeting of the “unbanked,” or those in the developing world struggling with volatile currencies? Bitcoin and its ilk promised to address the same problems, and have failed completely to help anyone other than speculators and criminals.Zuckerberg’s own patchy record on international payments should give pause too. WhatsApp Pay has struggled to gain regulatory acceptance in India, the world’s top remittance market, because its data storage practices didn’t meet national standards. Libra will have to answer a lot of similar questions about its financial structure and treatment of customer information.Facebook has been on a mission over the past year to recapture the trust of its users. Libra certainly demands a lot of faith.To contact the author of this story: Lionel Laurent at llaurent2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Fortinet Offers Integrated Security for Business Branches
    Zacks10 hours ago

    Fortinet Offers Integrated Security for Business Branches

    Fortinet's (FTNT) Secure SD-Branch solution provides network edge protection, device edge protection, integrated security and simplified management for distributed enterprises.

  • Amazon Aims to Launch Booze Delivery Services in San Francisco
    Zacks10 hours ago

    Amazon Aims to Launch Booze Delivery Services in San Francisco

    Amazon (AMZN) is in talks with San Francisco Board of Supervisors for the approval of its liquor license.

  • IBM Cloud Integrates POWER9, Expands Hybrid Cloud Adoption
    Zacks10 hours ago

    IBM Cloud Integrates POWER9, Expands Hybrid Cloud Adoption

    IBM Cloud's increasing adoption on the back of strength in company's hosted private cloud offerings bodes well.

  • Business Wire11 hours ago

    Amazon Announces the Best Books of 2019 So Far

    (AMZN)--Today, Amazon announced its selections for the Best Books of the Year So Far, naming Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel City of Girls the top pick overall. Over the course of the year, the Amazon Books editorial team reads hundreds of thousands of pages of new releases to select the Best Books of the Month as well as the Best Books of the Year So Far and, at the end of the year, the Best Books of the Year. “We love selecting the Best Book of the Year So Far,” said Sarah Gelman, Editorial Director, Amazon Books.

  • The Last Great Neoliberal Experiment Comes to a Neighborhood Near You
    Bloomberg11 hours ago

    The Last Great Neoliberal Experiment Comes to a Neighborhood Near You

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The opportunity zones created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 have all been set up, and the money has started to flow. When will we know if they’re working as promised to bring new growth and prosperity to distressed communities all over the U.S.? Well, maybe never — the opportunity zone is the latest refinement of a development approach previously known in the U.S. as the enterprise zone and the empowerment zone, and attempts to suss out the economic impacts of those have delivered notoriously muddled results.Still, we can at the very least say that the opportunity zones — 8,762 economically disadvantaged census tracts where investors receive favored capital gains tax treatment — are getting some investment. Real Capital Analytics, which tracks commercial real estate transactions, just released data comparing activity in opportunity zones and in census tracts that met the criteria for inclusion but weren’t chosen by their states’ governments:Transaction volume hasn’t just been rising faster lately in opportunity zones than in also-ran tracts; it’s been rising faster there (at least until the first quarter of this year) than in the rest of the country, too.Then again, as is apparent from the above charts, the opportunity zone census tracts were already outperforming everyplace else before they were designated, too. A recent report from Reonomy, another commercial real estate data provider, indicates that they were laggards for most of the past two decades, which is perhaps a sign that the states have mostly picked places that were just starting to rebound. Disentangling cause and effect here is hard, as it has been throughout the history of enterprise/empowerment/opportunity zones, although the design of the opportunity zone program may lend itself better to measurement than some of its predecessors.The concept is usually credited to Peter Hall, a British geography professor who after a visit to East Asia in 1977 proposed in a speech that the U.K. establish, as he paraphrased it a few years later, “a genuine mini Hong Kong in some derelict corner of the London or Liverpool docklands, representing an experimental alternative to the mainstream British economy.” Hall, who died in 2014, was a Labour Party-supporting expert on urban planning,(1) but his idea quickly caught on with planning-averse conservative/libertarian politicians in the U.K. and U.S. “Enterprise zones, it seems,” Hall noted with bemusement in 1982, “have become the standard urban policy package of radical right wing administrations in English-speaking countries.” In the U.K., the newly elected government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher put in place a program of urban enterprise zones featuring reduced regulation and taxes in 1980. In the U.S., President Ronald Reagan tried but never succeeded in creating an enterprise zone program on the national level, but 40 states started their own and, in 1993, President Bill Clinton succeeded in getting Congress to approve the Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities Act.This bipartisan appeal was a trademark of enterprise zones and their ilk. They united concern for the poor with a belief in free enterprise in a package that pretty much summed up the era of neoliberalism, which saw markets as the best tools for attacking social problems. The zones also, it must be said, had little demonstrable positive economic effect:Unfortunately, research into the effects of these enterprise zone programs in the U.S. has found at best mixed results, with little consensus in the literature as to whether they are beneficial.That verdict comes, interestingly enough, from the document that helped launch the opportunity zone movement: a 2015 paper, “Unlocking Private Capital to Facilitate Economic Growth in Distressed Areas,” by Jared Bernstein, former chief economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, and Kevin Hassett, the current chairman of President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers. The paper was commissioned by the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington think tank that had just been launched by Sean Parker, the billionaire co-founder of Napster and early backer and then-president of Facebook Inc.Parker is perhaps most identified with the words uttered not by him but by the actor who portrayed him in the movie “The Social Network,” Justin Timberlake: “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.” That, to some extent, was Bernstein and Hassett’s reasoning in their paper. Previous enterprise zone efforts in the U.S. had been too limited, scattershot and complicated to attract large-scale investment:Previous programs left many potential sources of investment untapped. There was no structure in place to encourage investors to exit existing investments, for example, and bring their realized gains into enterprise zones. There also was not a structured way to involve intermediary groups, such as banks, private equity, and venture funds, in investing in enterprise zones, although these groups generally can bring large resources to projects and have the potential to invest in companies that may thrive within an area. The emphasis on individual businesses instead of larger structures and institutions may indeed be part of the reason for the tepid results of enterprise zone programs.What was needed, they concluded, was “a simpler, targeted approach” to lure institutional investment into economically depressed communities. A little more than two years later, that approach was law. Steve Bertoni described how it happened in an entertaining Forbes cover story a year ago: Parker enlisted Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Democrat Cory Booker of New Jersey as leaders of the effort on Capitol Hill, and he stalked the halls of Congress to buttonhole lawmakers himself. Scott and Booker introduced the plan as a stand-alone bill in 2016, with another bipartisan pair doing the same in the House. Then they, as Bertoni put it, “decided it was best to wait for some fast-moving legislation to hitch it to.”That legislation turned out to be the 2017 tax bill. The House version didn’t include opportunity zones but the Senate one did, thanks in large part to Scott’s presence on the Finance Committee, and it survived in conference committee, too. One big mark in its favor was that, in a bill that the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated would reduce tax revenue by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years, its projected cost was a mere $1.6 billion.(2)To qualify for opportunity zone status, a census tract generally (there are a couple of other ways for some tracts that don’t quite meet these criteria to qualify) has to have a poverty rate of 20% or more, or a median family income that’s 80% or less of the state or metropolitan-area median. Investors can defer capital gains from past investments and be exempted from some or all taxes on new capital gains by putting the money into “qualified opportunity funds” that invest in commercial and industrial real estate, housing, infrastructure or businesses in the zones.More than half of all U.S. census tracts qualified for inclusion, but governors of states and territories, and the mayor of Washington, were charged with winnowing that list down. That task was completed by the middle of last year, and the chosen zones — which constitute 12% of the nation’s census tracts and can be perused most easily via the Economic Innovation Group website — are a mix of areas that I think everyone can agree are quite disadvantaged and others that happen to have met the criteria but are right next to prosperous areas and might have attracted investment in any case.Overall the selections tilt in the former direction: According to an Urban Institute analysis, the median 2012-2016 household income in the opportunity zones was $33,345, compared with $44,446 in the eligible-but-not-chosen tracts and $58,810 in the country as a whole. Mayors and other local officials have been deeply involved in picking opportunity zones in some states, following a template for investment devised in part by urban thinker and former Barack Obama administration policy maker Bruce Katz that aims to “spur growth that is inclusive, sustainable and truly transformative for each city’s economy.”Still, as Noah Buhayar, Caleb Melby and Lauren Leatherby of Bloomberg News have been reporting, some of the opportunity zones that have investors and developers most excited are in places like far-from-struggling downtown Portland, Oregon; an already-under-development “live, work, play paradise” just north of Miami; and the booming neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens where Amazon.com Inc. was going to locate a new headquarters before backing out in the face of local opposition. Real Capital Analytics predicted late last year that “the NYC Boroughs, Los Angeles and Phoenix may prove to be the most active markets for opportunity zone funds given their larger market size and their relatively high proportion of opportunity zones.”There is of course a balance that must be struck between investment viability and giving help to areas that truly need it. There’s also a risk that investments in poor neighborhoods will drive current residents out rather than enriching them, not to mention the risk that opportunity zones will turn out to be more successful in reducing the taxes of real estate investors — who already got big breaks from other provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — than in stimulating productive investment. With Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former hedge fund manager and Goldman Sachs partner, in charge of setting the rules for opportunity zone investment, critics such as Samantha Jacoby of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have charged that they’ve tilted way too far in the direction of making life easy for investors rather than ensuring that investments improve the lives of zone residents. Even the Economic Innovation Group is now pushing for stronger data collection rules so that “the success of the Opportunity Zones policy can be properly evaluated.” Opportunity-zone idea man Bernstein, a senior fellow at that very same Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told me this week that, while he too has mixed feelings about the effort, “I think I'm less ambivalent than a lot of my fellow progressives.” He said he’s been mostly encouraged by the states’ opportunity zone choices, and by the level of investor interest so far. Still, as he put it in a Washington Post op-ed early this year:If OZs turn out to largely subsidize gentrification, if their funds just go to places where investments would have flowed even without the tax break, or if their benefits fail to reach struggling families and workers in the zones, they will be a failure.Bernstein also wrote that, in fighting poverty, he preferred “direct hits” such as government-financed infrastructure investment and guaranteed health care and housing to market-dependent “bank shots” such as opportunity zones. This is true of left-leaning thinkers in Washington more generally these days — the summer issue of Democracy Journal, a past source of such Democratic Party policy ideas as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, features a multi-author symposium titled “Beyond Neoliberalism.” Voices within the Republican Party, including President Trump on trade matters in particular, have been departing from the markets-know-best policy as well. We may not see anything else like opportunity zones come along for quite a while. Unless, that is, they turn out to be so successful that the evidence isn’t inconclusive this time around.(1) Highly recommended: his book "Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design Since 1880."(2) These are the static revenue estimates. The JCT's macroeconomic analysis of the bill's effects cut the overall 10-year cost to about $1.1 trillion but did not break things down to the level of including a revised estimate of the cost of opportunity zones.To contact the author of this story: Justin Fox at justinfox@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Brooke Sample at bsample1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes