Normally the stock market isn’t where you go to see protests about wealth concentration. Today, you might.
Unless you’re an owner of Whole Foods Markets Inc., you’re probably not thrilled that Amazon.com Inc. has executed its biggest-ever takeover. Consumer staples shares in the S&P 500 Index tumbled 1.3 percent after the fourth-biggest U.S. company waded further into the grocery space, knocking down everything from supermarkets to drugstores and real-estate trusts. That dragged the broader market lower even as energy producers rallied.
It’s not how it’s supposed to work. Marquee acquisitions are usually celebrated, signs of burgeoning risk appetite. But in a world where technological efficiency and scale are drowning out other considerations, what’s good for Amazon and its owners is not at the moment being treated as good for everyone else.
“When a disruptive technology delivers the same thing at a lower cost, that’s going to create challenges where the number of winners is smaller and the losers broader,” Jason Benowitz, senior portfolio manager at Roosevelt Investment Group in New York, said by phone.
At least for today, wealth is being transferred from the many to the few. While $12.5 billion of market value has been added to Amazon and $3 billion to Whole Foods, a net $39 billion has been erased from the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index.
The result is a third day of losses for the S&P 500, which slipped 0.1 percent at 12 p.m. in New York.
While Whole Foods’ stock surged in response to the deal, the same can’t be said for its peers. Or even its close relatives. Or distant ones. All but one consumer staple stock outside Whole Foods are down. Makers of nonessential goods are down 0.3 percent.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Costco Wholesale Corp are down 6.5 percent and Kroger Co is having another day of double-digit losses. Dollar General Corp. is off 3.8 percent and Dollar Tree Inc. down 3.9 percent is on pace for its worst day this year.
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